201904.18
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Preparing for the Inevitable SPLA Audit

If your company uses a Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA)—and it probably does if Microsoft considers you to be in the commercial hosting business—you will be audited at some point. Typically, Microsoft SPLA customers are audited once every three years. When that time comes, it is important to know how your company may be…

201903.20
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Do You Need a Microsoft Service Provider License (SPLA)?

If your business model involves hosting applications, websites or data, chances are that Microsoft will require you to obtain and follow a SPLA. Businesses that use Microsoft software for internal use only, or where third-party access is anonymous or unauthenticated, do not need a SPLA. With limited exceptions, Microsoft does require customers engaged in commercial…

201903.07
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Audit Inspections: How to Proceed with Inspecting Computers for Software Installations

BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) is an organization that represents software companies and prosecutes alleged unlicensed use of those member companies’ software products.  The BSA generally initially sends a company a letter indicating the company may be out of compliance with applicable software license agreements and demanding that the company investigate and inspect each…

201902.06
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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…

201902.05
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How to Find the Best Lawyer for Your BSA Audit Case

I am a partner in Scott & Scott, LLP a firm that focuses on technology law matters in Southlake, Texas.  We represent companies accused of software piracy by industry trade groups such as the Business Software Alliance and Software Information and Industry Association.  I had my first encounter with the BSA in 2004 when they…

201902.04
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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…

201902.01
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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…

201901.31
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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…

201901.29
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Audits in the Cloud

Traditionally, software audits were conducted by gaining access to software installations and reviewing entitlements. Theoretically, if a customer is using a cloud product accessed by login credentials, then audits wouldn’t be an issue because the software publisher would be in complete control of the customers’ access to its systems. But, audits can still be a…