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 been accused of software piracy, here’s what you should do:
- Hire an Attorney – BSA and SIIA have experienced software piracy attorneys working for them, you should too.
- Preserve Evidence – do not uninstall or change computer configurations until an accurate inventory of in-scope computers has been gathered.
- Avoid Knee-Jerk Purchases – a natural but counterproductive response to a software piracy audit is to run out and purchase software. I advise my clients to avoid making purchases until a complete inventory and case assessment has been completed.
- Maintain Confidentiality – client prepared audit materials and related documentation may be discoverable in a lawsuit. We conduct attorney-supervised audit reports protected by attorney-client and attorney work-product privileges.
- Condition Audit Disclosure – software piracy audit materials should only be disclosed after an appropriate agreement regarding confidentiality and non-use of the information has been signed by the software piracy enforcement agency.
- Estimate Software Piracy Fines – always review the draft audit materials with your attorney before they are produced to make sure everyone is clear on the potential financial exposure involved. Our software piracy fine calculators are available at BSA Fine Calculator.
- Argue Software Piracy Legal Issues – there are many legal issues involved in software piracy audits including what constitutes infringement, who has the burden of proof, how damages should be calculated, what constitutes proof of ownership and many others. We vigorously argue these legal points in an effort to reduce software piracy settlement demands.
- Negotiate Non-Monetary Terms – software piracy audit settlement agreements are incredibly one-sided and unfair to the targets. I advise my clients to carefully consider important issues like future audit obligations, confidentiality of the settlement terms, the nature and scope of the release being offered.
- Focus on Your Business – the only way to be successful in a software piracy audit is to continue to stay focused on running your business and taking care of your clients.
If you have been accused of software piracy please call Scott & Scott, LLP for a free consultation.