201311.11
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Compliance May Remain a Concern Even in the Cloud

For many businesses, the allure of moving their software platforms, applications and/or databases to The Cloud lies substantially in the promise of ridding themselves of license-compliance concerns. The pitfalls of a Cloud-based architecture are worth accepting for many businesses that do not want to expose themselves to the risks of hefty penalties or compliance purchases…

201311.10
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Your Adobe Software May Be Phoning Home Without Your Knowledge

Increasingly, software publishers are looking for new tools and processes to assist them in their license-enforcement programs. While such efforts are understandable to a degree, they sometimes can include methods that are somewhat dubious at least from a customer-relations perspective, if not from a legal perspective. One provision from Adobe’s most recent end-user license terms…

201310.29
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Avoid Oracle ULA Termination Risks

Many software publishers recognize that perpetual licenses should be, true to their name, perpetual, and that unless you violate the terms of the licenses they should remain in effect forever. As the licensee, you may not want to use that Microsoft Office 97 license you purchased fifteen years ago. However, if it suits your needs…

201307.29
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Avoid Ambiguity in Microsoft Licensing Agreements

CTOs who have read Microsoft’s volume license agreements and product use rights documentation know that Microsoft has a special place in its heart for contractual “grey area.” To some extent, that fact likely arises from the practical impossibility of trying to accurately capture all of the technical parameters that could affect license rights. Enterprise IT…

201301.04
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ISVs Must Attend to Customer Agreements

Independent software vendors and other companies that distribute third-party software products as part of their proprietary solutions often are predictably good at capturing core business terms in their customer agreements, carefully defining the products and scope of services to be delivered. Unfortunately, far fewer are as reliable about including required, third-party license terms in those…

201209.07
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Beware the Convenient “Intent” of Software Publishers

Most software license agreements used by major publishers like Microsoft and IBM are in many ways vague with respect to license restrictions and metrics. This leaves licensees in the position of having to interpret the agreements based on whatever guidance may be available from the publisher or, often, simply based on the licensees’ own experience…

201208.13
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All License Breaches May Not Constitute Copyright Infringement

At the conclusion of software audits where it appears that software products were installed and used without adequate licensing, many companies find themselves confronting two challenges. First, there is the fact that the software publisher likely is demanding that the company pay penalties or otherwise steep rates to obtain the previously un-purchased licenses, upon threat…

201206.27
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A Global Definition for Software “Hosting”

I previously have discussed what “commercial hosting” means when it comes to Microsoft software, but the universe of problems created by the “hosting” ambiguity obviously is bigger than just Microsoft. Almost all software publishers restrict or prohibit – to varying degrees – their customers’ ability to use the software products they license in connection with…

201206.19
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Autodesk Audits: How to Effectively Scan Your Network and Prepare Accurate Results

Conducting a self-audit while facing potential copyright infringement claims from Autodesk or any other software publisher often is complicated and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is critical to choose an appropriate method to ensure the audit results are accurate. A self-audit usually may be conducted using various methods, including third-party scanning tools, such as Belarc, or manual…

201204.23
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Avoid Pitfalls When Deploying ILMT for IBM Software

IBM software is expensive. In some cases, very expensive. While this may represent a necessary cost of doing business for many companies with mission-critical software solutions developed on or using IBM applications, all IBM customers clearly are incentivized to maximize the value of their software expenditures with Big Blue. For an increasing number of those…

201111.21
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What I Learned in the Last 10 Years Defending BSA -The Software Alliance Audits

I am an intellectual property attorney in Southlake, Texas who has handled more than 230 Business Software Alliance audit matters for small to medium-sized companies. For the last ten years, I have been representing end-user companies nationally in software audit matters initiated by major software publishers including Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, IBM and their trade groups…

201111.20
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Attempts to Transfer Microsoft Licenses May be Ineffective

Like most software publishers, Microsoft includes terms in its standard license agreements to restrict a licensee’s ability to resell or otherwise assign to another party the right to install or use software. Increasing the level of difficulty for IT groups trying to manage their software assets, different types of Microsoft licenses come with different transfer…

201106.03
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Avoid Risks Associated with Software Licensed Through ISVs

Independent software vendors (ISVs) constitute a diverse group of businesses whose core business model typically consists of utilizing third-party software infrastructure and development platforms (such as Microsoft SQL Server or IBM WebSphere Application Server) to create targeted solutions for their customers. ISVs have become a fixture in today’s marketplace for information technology solutions, and most…

201105.06
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Autodesk Targets Architects In Software Audits

Autodesk routinely conducts software audits to determine whether businesses have unlicensed copies of its software installed on their computers. Architecture firms typically represent a significant portion of the targets of such audits – many such firms are heavily reliant on Autodesk software due to Autodesk’s dominance in the market for computer-aided design software and due…

201104.08
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Attachmate Customers Should Prepare for Audit Demands

Businesses deploying software published by Attachmate Corporation should strongly consider making an effort now to review their license-compliance status. Attachmate is a major player in markets for various IT-infrastructure software solutions, and it has demonstrated its willingness to pursue litigation in support of its copyright-enforcement interests. For example, in April 2008, Attachmate pursued and reached…

201008.05
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Beware “Document Soup” Software Licensing

On July 22, 2010, software publisher AccuSoft sued Northrop Grumman Systems in federal court for breach of contract, copyright infringement and trademark infringement related to Northrop’s use of AccuSoft’s ImageGear and ImageTransport software. Northrop allegedly used and integrated AccuSoft’s products in the development of a paperless records information system it developed for the U.S. military….