201704.10
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How to Contend with Oracle’s Many Licensing Policies

It is common practice for software publishers to incorporate by reference various licensing rules and policies to govern the usage of the publishers’ software products. For example, Microsoft’s volume license agreements (such as MPSAs or Enterprise Agreements) incorporate Microsoft’s Product Terms, Online Services Terms and Service Level Agreement for Online Services (among other documents), with…

201704.06
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Software Piracy

Software piracy audits conducted by the BSA and the SIIA threaten small and medium sized businesses. As the economy tightens, software publishers such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk hide behind software piracy enforcement groups to pursue customers accused of installing more software on corporate computers than they have purchased licenses for. If your company has…

201703.22
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Intellectual Property Liability Considerations for M&A Transactions

Mergers and acquisitions typically require extensive financial and legal disclosures, due diligence, and complex contract language to protect buyers from legal issues that may arise from the purchase. Potential liability arising from intellectual property issues is a significant factor to consider in any M&A transaction. The following are a few key considerations to negotiate during…

201703.15
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Oracle Licensing: Hard Partitioning and Disaster Recovery

When licensing Oracle products, many businesses fail to understand the licensing requirements for virtual technologies and disaster recovery.  These licensing mistakes can result in significant unbudgeted expenses related to Oracle software licensing. (1) Virtualization Virtualized hardware is now fairly pervasive in the IT world. But, incorrectly virtualizing an environment can have catastrophic effects to a…

201703.14
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Oracle Audit Risks

Oracle maintains what I consider to be the most aggressive audit program of any major software publisher. Its licensing rules can be extremely difficult to understand, and they frequently are not clearly stated in the applicable license agreements. Moreover, Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) team typically is unforgiving when it comes time to apply those…

201702.14
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Settlement Structuring for IBM Audits

Software-compliance audits initiated by IBM can be extremely burdensome and time-consuming and can force companies to face challenges that are somewhat unique among major-publisher audits. For one example, a significant component of IBM’s business model is the acquisition of other software vendors and the integration of those vendors into IBM’s product portfolio, which can complicate…

201702.02
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The Art of Negotiating a Software Audit

Almost every business today operates with the support of digital tools. One recent survey put the number of companies investing in digital technologies to transform their business at an astounding 97 percent. Conducting business in this digital age means licensing software from major publishers, such as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, and the subsequent acknowledgement and…

201701.20
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Responding to the Dreaded Software Audit

Modern financial history is chock full of embarrassing audit scandals, which caused executives and corporate brand names severe damage from intentional fabrication of revenues, or creating imaginary profits, or claiming assets that turn out to be a mirage. There’s a new scary cousin of traditional financial audits known as the software audit. It’s increasingly become…

201701.19
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Avoid Overpaying for Software Settlements

Most software audits initiated by the software publisher or a third party entity authorized to pursue copyright infringement claims on behalf of the software publishers, such as the BSA| The Software Alliance (“BSA”) or the Software & Industry Information Association (“SIIA”), are resolved outside of a courtroom.  Many of the settlements require payment of a…

201701.10
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To SAM or Not to SAM? The Differences Between a Microsoft SAM Engagement and an Audit

In recent years, Microsoft seems to have been shifting an increasing volume of its license-compliance resources toward what it calls Software Asset Management (SAM) reviews. These “optional” engagements typically are proposed by Microsoft personnel with whom a company has not had any prior interactions, and the company often receives no advance warning or introductions from…

201701.09
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Be Cautious in Navigating Microsoft’s Forest of EA Documents

Companies with experience licensing Microsoft software and services through Enterprise Agreements know that small forests could be felled to produce the paper required for the typical document stack. EAs often incorporate a dozen or more different components, including some or all of the following: Microsoft Business and Services Agreement or Microsoft Business Agreement (Microsoft sometimes…

201612.09
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Managing Risks in the Software Audit Process

It has been said that software is the new oil. It fuels the information revolution. And in this metaphor, software audits are the meters that measure the flow—and extract maximum revenue for software makers. The auditors arrive on your company doorstep to “true up” your license and make sure you’re paying for all the software…

201611.22
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Microsoft Clarifies Rules Related to Self-Hosting

I previously presented my thoughts here regarding changes Microsoft made to its Product Terms pertaining to the Self-Hosted Applications benefit under Software Assurance. After publishing that entry, Microsoft reached out to me to clarify that the principal effect of the change actually is to increase self-hosting rights by extending them to deployments hosted by a…