Who is the Business Software Alliance?
Established in 1988, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the world’s largest IT industry group whose stated primary objective is to protect its members from copyright infringement, otherwise known as software piracy. BSA’s members include some of the leading international software publishers like Adobe, Apple, Corel, 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 BSA has settled cases all over the country with companies who have been audited for unlicensed software use. Although silent on the amount of fines they have collected to date, from 1990-2003, the Business Software Alliance collected more than $83 million in penalties for suspected software piracy.
Why did BSA send me a letter?
If you receive a letter from the Business Software Alliance, it is the result of the BSA receiving a tip from a source, which they believe to be credible, that your company is infringing upon the software licenses of one or more of their member software publishers. Most reports to the BSA are made as a means of reprisal by disgruntled former employees who have recently been terminated. As incentive to these whistle-blowers, the Business Software Alliance offers a reward up to $1,000,000.00 to its informants. In fact, according to a press release issued by the BSA, it has paid out $327,000 in rewards since 2008, based on an average of 2,419 reports per year.
In most letters from the BSA, the Business Software Alliance requests the company to conduct a voluntary audit that often times exposes software installed on a company’s computers for which it cannot provide proof of ownership according to the BSA’s standards. The Business Software Alliance requires the company to produce the results of this software audit paired with sales receipts and invoices that indicate the date the software was purchased so that the BSA can calculate a fine for any software that the company fails to provide proper documentation.
If an audit reveals software compliance issues, the company needs legal advice on what to do before providing any information to the BSA. The attorneys at Dorman Bell have worked with clients on responding to letters from the Business Software Alliance as well as negotiating settlements with the BSA. 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 future exposure to the BSA.
For more information, call us at (214) 736-718 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!