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…

201609.20
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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…

201609.20
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In Microsoft Audits, Don’t Forget About True-Up Rights

Following the conclusion of a software audit, Microsoft’s standard practice is to require an audited company to purchase licenses associated with calculated “unlicensed use” within a set period of time (typically, 30 days) following receipt of Microsoft’s settlement demand. However, it is important for companies with Enterprise Agreements to keep in mind the fact that…

201609.14
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Autodesk Audits: The Importance of Serial Numbers

In many software audits, the auditing entity like the Business Software Alliance or the Software & Information Industry Association requires a dated proof of purchase to demonstrate when a license for a software product was acquired. However, in audits initiated by Autodesk, the serial number can play a crucial role in demonstrating ownership. Autodesk products…

201609.14
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Responding to Autodesk Audits

The BSA and SIIA are not the only organizations pursuing business for software copyright infringement. Though it is a member of both the BSA and SIIA, Autodesk, which manufactures the popular design software AutoCAD, often pursues audit targets on its own. The audits begin much like those instituted by the BSA or SIIA. The target…

201609.14
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One Easy, Preventative Step to Reduce Exposure in Autodesk Audits

In the universe of software-copyright enforcement programs, Autodesk’s may be the most active and vigorous. All businesses – even those not running Autodesk software – should take steps early and regularly to identify and eliminate any software-compliance gaps associated with Autodesk and other software installations. It is common for businesses owners to be surprised by…

201609.14
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Top Tips for Responding to an Autodesk Audit

Autodesk routinely sends letters to businesses that it suspects may be using Autodesk software products without adequate licensing, both in order to confirm those suspicions as well as to address any license-compliance discrepancies. Typically under threat of a federal lawsuit for copyright infringement, Autodesk requires targeted businesses to respond to detailed questions about the Autodesk…