201906.18
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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…

201905.29
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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…

201905.01
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Can a Software Publisher Force You to Audit Your Customers?

Many software-solution vendors utilize third-party infrastructure or application programs as frameworks for embedded solutions that they sell to their customers and install on their customers’ computers. Licenses for those third-party products typically can be acquired by a vendor and passed to its customers pursuant to the terms of an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) or Original…

201904.30
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Top Four Terms to Remember when Purchasing Autodesk Software

Software-license compliance can be a difficult task, and understanding the standard Autodesk Software License Agreement may present challenges. Here are four of the most important terms in that agreement to remember for compliance purposes: 1. License Terms Vary Regarding Installations. a. Multi-seat license. Although Autodesk generally restricts software installations to one installation per license, the…

201904.26
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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…

201904.24
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For SPLA Audits, When Historical Data is Missing, Creativity May Be Required

Most software audits pertaining to products licensed under perpetual licenses (such as licenses acquired under a Microsoft Select Agreement, MPSA or (usually) Enterprise Agreement) incorporate a snapshot-in-time approach, where licenses owned generally are compared to deployments identified through data collected about current-state product deployments. In contrast, audits pertaining to products licensed under a Microsoft Services…

201904.23
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Accurate Inventory Information Crucial to Audit Outcome

Obvious though it may sound, in almost every software audit the most crucial element contributing to a positive outcome is an accurate inventory of what software is deployed. Unfortunately, far too many businesses faced with an audit end up receiving grossly over-inflated compliance-purchase demands, because the inventory data received by the auditors and used to…

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…

201904.15
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How to respond to a VMware Audit

Managing a complex IT environment very challenging, even before becoming involved in an external software audit from a software publisher or a third-party auditing entity. Businesses facing VMWare audits in particular should be prepared to take a number of steps to ensure compliance and avoid exacerbating any potential copyright infringement claims. Step 1: Identify the…

201904.11
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Top Three Ways to Sabotage Your Licensing Compliance Under SPLA

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is the principal licensing agreement for companies that want to use Microsoft products to deliver hosted software solutions over the Internet. Microsoft’s standard volume license agreements expressly prohibit using the software for “commercial hosting” purposes (though, limited exceptions are offered for certain use cases and subject to specific requirements)….

201904.10
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Be Wary of Requests for Mystery Data

Software auditors such as KPMG, Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers like to have things their way. It’s an understandable impulse – with likely hundreds of audits pending at any one time, the natural inclination is to standardize the process around a single set of tools and processes with which the auditors are most familiar. However, those tools…

201904.04
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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…

201904.03
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Adobe Audit Demands Can Be Burdensome

Businesses contacted by Adobe for software audits can be lulled into thinking that those investigations entail less exposure risk than audits by other publishers, like Microsoft or IBM. Adobe audits typically are conducted directly by Adobe representatives, rather than by a third-party auditor like Deloitte or KPMG, and the inventory data usually is provided by…

201903.29
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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…