New York Market: #1 in BSA | Business Software Alliance “Whistleblower” Anti-Piracy Ads

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BSA | Business Software Alliance targets New York to solicit piracy tips in exchange for cash rewards in radio ads. According to media research service, Adscope™, the New York City area had the highest number of ads nationwide of three monitored titles. Intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, with a practice area focused on software license defense, lists what New York businesses need to know about software audit requests from software publishers or their trade associations.

Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner, Scott & Scott, LLP

In my opinion, many of the Business Software Alliance’s practices are questionable.

New York City ranked #1 in number of BSA | Business Software Alliance radio ads soliciting piracy tips from whistleblowers in exchange for cash rewards according to research from media tracking service Adscope™ of three monitored ads. Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm, recommends New York companies be prepared.

The BSA | Business Software Alliance, a global software industry trade association, whose members include Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Autodesk, conducts copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members.

“While we understand the BSA’s desire to protect the intellectual property rights of its software publisher members, we believe the association has done nothing to simplify or standardize the unique, lengthy and complex license agreements of its member companies. This leaves the onus of compliance entirely on software customers”, says Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner of Scott & Scott, LLP.

“In my opinion, many of the Business Software Alliance’s practices are questionable. The BSA entices disgruntled employees, many of whom were responsible for any license compliance gaps, to report their current and former employers with the promise of cash rewards”, continued Scott.


The BSA | Business Software Alliance usually initiates an investigation after it receives a confidential report of unauthorized software use. Targeted companies are contacted by the BSA’s attorneys, who request that the company conduct a self audit and report the results. Companies targeted for audit are not required to cooperate with trade associations or publishers, but resolution without litigation is highly unlikely unless the target company agrees to participate in a voluntary audit. “We usually recommend cooperation and not litigation”, Scott said.

A number of legal issues are implicated in software audits. Although software usage is governed by a contractual license, the software industry generally relies on the stronger protections afforded by the federal Copyright Act of 1976. The act provides stiff penalties – up to $150,000 per violation if the infringement is willful. In addition, officers and directors of corporations who infringe copyrights may be found individually liable.

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About Scott & Scott, LLP ( ( (
Is a leading intellectual property and technology law firm representing businesses in matters involving software licensing. Scott & Scott, LLP’s legal and technology professionals provide software audit defense and software compliance solutions, all protected by attorney-client and work-product privileges.

Robert Scott, a recognized expert on software compliance and defense, is available for interviews.


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