Business Software Alliance Settlements
Established in 1988, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the world’s largest IT industry group whose primary objective is to protect its members from copyright infringement otherwise known as software piracy. The BSA’s members include some of the leading international software publishers like Adobe, Apple, AVG, Corel, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit, McAfee, and Microsoft.
The Business Software Alliance runs a piracy hotline that allows callers to confidentially report suspected incidents of software piracy. It also maintains a website with online reporting features that make exposing piracy a simple task. The Business Software Alliance settles cases all over the country with companies who have been audited for unlicensed software use. Although silent on the amount of settlement funds they have collected to date, from 1990-2003, the Business Software Alliance collected more than $83 million in fines for software piracy.
For example, in August of 2010, AutoTrader.com settled with the BSA for claims of unlicensed copies of Adobe, Autodesk, Corel and Quest software installed on the company’s computers. As a result of the settlement, AutoTrader.com paid the Business Software Alliance $400,000 and pledged to remove any unlicensed software from its computers, as well as obtain any licenses needed to comply with the regulations.
What happens once I settle with the Business Software Alliance?
Once a settlement has been reached with the Business Software Alliance, a detailed settlement agreement outlining future compliance requirements must be executed by both parties. Attorneys for the BSA have standard settlement forms that can be negotiated with the appropriate representation. The settlement agreement requires a series of certifications to be sent to their attention over a period of two years following the effective date of the settlement.
These certifications include, but are not limited to, a certification of audit results, an annual officer’s certificate, and a certification of compliance with attached schedules. Among other things, the schedules require a detailed listing of the type of software product, number of products purchased, the number of products destroyed, and the date they were purchased or destroyed. Furthermore, a schedule will require copies of receipts or other proof of software purchases. Additionally, a Business Software Alliance settlement agreement requires an adoption of the Software Code of Ethics and a warranty of continued compliance.
Settlement with the Business Software Alliance can be overwhelming. The best way to make sure your interest are sufficiently represented and to assure that all of the deadlines during the settlement period are met, is to hire a defense attorney for all of your software auditing and settlement needs. In addition, an attorney can help you eliminate the risks of onsite inspections, negotiate attorney fees, and most importantly, reduce the costs of the entire settlement.
The attorneys at Dorman Bell have worked with clients on negotiating settlements for compliance issues. With over twenty years of software development and software license experience, our attorneys can facilitate a software compliance audit that can maximize a company’s software licenses as well as minimize potential fines and future exposure to the BSA. Let us help you settle with the Business Software Alliance. For more information, call us at (214) 736-7168 or visit our contact page and we will get back with you as soon as possible. Our extensive background and experience will benefit you and we look forward to serving you!