201711.17
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How to Conduct a Software Audit

One of the tasks with which Scott & Scott’s clients most commonly request our assistance is how to conduct a software audit. While almost all companies, large and small, use software in order to conduct their business operations, many of those companies lack mature or even nascent software asset management practices. Consequently, when asked to…

201711.09
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How to Protect Your Company in a Microsoft SPLA Self-Certification

If your company licenses products to third parties under the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may receive a request to perform a self assessment and provide a certification of compliance to Microsoft.  The SPLA self-assessment audit is a new audit flavor that is unlike the independent audits Microsoft has historically used to audit…

201710.30
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License Ambiguities in Software Audits

Without a contractual provision to the contrary, ambiguous terms in a software license will be construed against the software publisher. Provided that there are no other business factors that would make litigation unwise, an ambiguous license agreement is the situation most likely to lead to litigation. Construction against the Drafter When dealing with ambiguities, it…

201710.30
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Using an Oracle Server Worksheet to Respond to Oracle Licensing Inquiries

If your business receives an inquiry from Oracle requesting that you complete an Oracle Server Worksheet, you should proceed with caution. Answering the question without consulting a licensing expert and carefully evaluating the relevant license agreements can result in increased licensing fees, possible audits, and penalties. Before responding to an Oracle inquiry, it is important…

201710.30
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Consult with Counsel for SPLA Audits

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) is a popular licensing framework for businesses delivering hosted or rented software solutions to their customers. However, as with many software license agreements pertaining to resale or other business channel partnership programs, the SPLA typically includes audit rights language giving Microsoft the ability to review a SPLA partner’s records…

201710.24
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VMware Licensing: Common Questions about Licensing Rules and Restrictions, Part II

Virtualization can reduce the number of physical machines required in an environment and have several other benefits, but it can also require an understanding of complex technical and licensing concepts. Failure to properly license the environment can subject the company to unbudgeted licensing and compliance fees. The following list includes several common questions and concerns…

201710.18
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Microsoft SPLA Self-Assessment – What It Is, and How to Respond

Many of our clients have been contacting us in recent weeks (mid-late 2017) regarding notices they received from Microsoft requesting an internal self-assessment of their license positions under their Services Provider License Agreements (SPLAs). Naturally, many of those clients have questions about that process and the ramifications of cooperating with Microsoft. For those who may…

201709.13
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How to Understand Oracle’s Use of its Partitioning Policy for Virtualization

Oracle’s “Technology” software products (such as its WebLogic and Database programs) are very popular products. Unfortunately, as we have explained numerous times here, Oracle’s license agreements and compliance practices entail numerous pitfalls for unwary users of those products. Being caught in one of those pitfalls can result in substantial, unforeseen expenses following an audit by…

201708.30
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11 Secrets to Defending BSA | The Software Alliance Audits

Don’t be in the dark on how to prepare and respond to software audits. An increasing number of companies face software audits initiated by software publishers and their trade associations, such as BSA | The Software Alliance and the Software & Information Industry Association. Most companies are totally unprepared; many underestimate their exposure and are…

201708.30
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VMware Audits: What You Need to Know About Licensing Rules, Part I

It is not unusual for companies to use virtualization technologies to reduce costs, ensure redundancy, and reduce physical size of the network. Some of these companies are turning to VMware to manage their virtualized environments. Virtualization can involve complex technical and licensing issues. Failure to properly license the environment risks subjecting the company to unbudgeted…

201708.16
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Navigating Microsoft License Verification Audits

Microsoft, like other software publishers, routinely audits customers to help ensure that it is protecting the value of its intellectual property.  Microsoft verifies its customers’ compliance using several methods. Microsoft License Verification (also, Software Asset Management “SAM” request). In a SAM request, Microsoft assigns a third party to reach out to a customer to confirm…

201708.15
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Is Flexera’s Initiative with Microsoft a Silver Bullet for Software Audits?

Microsoft and Flexera recently announced a joint initiative that the two companies have touted as a way to transform “the software supply chain” through the use of a standard set of software asset management (SAM) solutions. By deploying Flexera’s FlexNetManager Suite with Microsoft’s Intelligent Asset Manager, the goal is to create an “agreed upon ELP…

201707.28
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Superseding Audit Rights for Software Copyright Infringement: Settlement Agreements Versus Software License Agreements

Many software copyright infringement claims are resolved informally and often the terms are set forth in a settlement agreement. The critical terms in every settlement agreement purporting to resolve copyright infringement claims include the release of liability, confidentiality, warranties and representations, monetary sums to be paid, and in cases of software, future auditing rights. Third-party…

201707.11
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Are Mandatory Software Inventory Tools on the Horizon?

Software licensing compliance is a complex task to manage. The metrics for measuring compliance often are a challenge to gather, and those metrics typically are different from software publisher to software publisher. This means that software asset management (SAM) teams need to use multiple tools and processes to gather required data and then apply different…

201706.20
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Copyright Infringement Defense: Know When to Consult an Expert

Even though software audits are commonplace in many businesses, recipients of audit notices make many mistakes when it comes to audit responses.  Because software publishers can often assert claims for copyright infringement if the audit goes badly, it is important to manage the audit effectively from the outset.  Some companies do not respond to the…