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Another day, another BSA fine

Jun 26 2014: Published by under Compliance,Software audit,software license

The BSA just found an engineering design company to be non-compliant with their Autodesk software –  resulting in a payout of over $50,000.

The company, Project Options Ltd, was outed by a “confidential online report” that was submitted through the BSA website.  Likely a disgruntled employee or perhaps even a competitor.

The fines, which added up to over $50,000 included fees for new licensing they had to purchase. The company has said before being discovered by the BSA, software licensing was not a priority. Not only did they find a licensing gap – the audit by the BSA discovered that some of Project Options’ contractors had downloaded and used unlicensed software – woops! 

The good news? Software licensing is NOW a priority for this company – and hopefully others will learn from their mistakes!

Keep Your Receipts – Auditors are Sticklers!

Apr 10 2013: Published by under Compliance,Microsoft,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft: News You Can Use,software asset management,Software audit

Keeping track of your software assets is important. Keeping on top of changing licensing rules is important. One small thing that could make or break you – having proof of purchases for your software products/licenses. Believe it or not, organizations like the BSA do not recognize certificates of authenticity or product keys as proof of purchase for Microsoft products. Save your receipts, your billing records, any piece of information that proves you paid for that software and the corresponding licenses.

Product keys can be stolen and the certificates are not dated (and can also be easily stolen), therefore, they will ask for further proof – and if you don’t have it, you’ll have to purchase those products all over again.

Be prepared and keep good records – this is the only way to combat an audit and remain in compliance!

IBM Joins BSA

Jan 25 2013: Published by under software asset management,Software audit

First Oracle, now IBM! IBM is the among the 40 software vendors to be a part of the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Just another reason to be mindful of your software licensing compliance!

Watch Your Whistle Blowers!

Jan 21 2013: Published by under Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Oracle audit,Oracle license,Oracle Licensing Compliance,Software audit

90% of all audit letters sent in 2012 were the result of tips from whistle-blowers, according to the BSA. 90%!!! So those current and former employers that didn’t get the raise they wanted or had a bad day with their boss…they can earn some cash by filling out a simple online form (see below). It’s easy, anonymous and lucrative.

Considering the BSA represents 40 software vendors (including Adobe, Oracle and IBM), it would be pretty easy for any company, large or small, to be caught. Software vendors are auditing more and more and the BSA is just one way for them to find out who they should be targeting.

What is the lesson here? Don’t give whistle blowers any ammo – do a self-audit, get your licensing in order and be prepared!

Oracle Joins the BSA

Jan 17 2013: Published by under Compliance,Oracle audit,Oracle license,Oracle Licensing Compliance,Oracle Licensing Tip,Oracle: News You Can Use,Software audit

Late last year, Oracle joined the Business Software Alliance (BSA). What does this mean? It means if you use Oracle, there is another avenue for the company to audit you. The BSA relies on whistle blowers (and even rewards them with cash) and stands firmly behind the right to protect and fine against copyright infringement.

So what does this mean for you if you have Oracle products? Be prepared! There is an even greater chance you will be audited. Get your licensing in order, read your Terms and Conditions and make sure that you are in compliance.

Audits don’t have to be scary – if you are ready for them!

BSA Nabs Small Business

Jan 10 2013: Published by under Software audit

It’s not just the big fish they are after anymore! The BSA nabbed a small design consultancy in the UK and fined them £3,000 ($4,827), following a tip from a whistle-blower that the company was using unlicensed Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft software.

This doesn’t seem like much, but it just goes to show that even small businesses are vulnerable and need to keep their licenses in check. The BSA, and software vendors themselves, do not discriminate and will go after businesses of any size who are abusing their copyrights. Take control of your software assets. So many companies pay too little attention to it and don’t even realize they are violating the terms and conditions of their contracts!

You can read more about this particular case here.

The BSA’s “nauseating” anti-piracy tactics

Mar 30 2012: Published by under Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Oracle Licensing Compliance

We have often addressed the BSA and their piracy fighting tactics here on this blog as a warning sign for those who aren’t taking compliance as seriously as they should be. PC Pro Magazine recently wrote a story about a small business that was targeted by the BSA and the exact tactics that were used to strong arm them into an audit. Admittedly, the business owner did not know if he was in compliant, but blamed the recession and trying to keep his business afloat as to why licensing fell to the wayside. You can read about the entire ordeal here.

It gives good insight as to what exactly happens when a disgruntled employee turns you in, and how far the BSA will go to validate the claim, which they say are where 20% of their leads come from. Something to think about! And yes, we are in a recession, but what many businesses do not realize, is that managing your software assets can actually save you money- which is a thing of beauty in a recession!

Check out our archived events section, we have several resources on audits and SAM to get you started!

China indigenous innovation policy could stifle innovation, foreign investment

Apr 15 2010: Published by under Software audit

There has been a flurry of press about China’s Indigenous innovation policy, which will threaten US intellectual property rights. The policy requires companies to develop their intellectual property in China if they want to qualify for preferences under that country’s government procurement program. U.S. companies are concerned that they will lose big, and President Obama has even stepped in to work with Chinese officials to come to some sort of agreement. He also plans to address the piracy taking place against US filmmakers and musicians, which has been happening for many years, with little success by US officials to stop the criminal activity.

Google and GoDaddy have abandoned their business in China due to the government’s strict regulations. Are we going to see more US companies abandoning China? Is the Chinese government pushing foreigners out to allow domestic companies more success? Here is a great piece from CNN about Microsoft’s battle in China. Microsoft has often said that their business in China has brought them tremendous revenue and the growing economy has paid off for the company. The battle was tough but worth it in the end.

While many companies are worried about the increasing regulation and changes brought forward by the Chinese government, the opportunity to invest in a growing economy like China, is too good of an option, and has not stifled their intentions to invest in the county. Like Microsoft, the road may be a bumpy one with many hurdles, but pay off in the end. It will interesting to see if Google put its tails between its legs and goes back to China, and conforms with censorship requested by the Government. Hopefully, President Obama and his team will be able to hash out an agreement that will not prevent foreign companies from investing in China and will also put a damper on piracy.

Software vendors are well aware of the issue, as is the BSA, who has been very busy in China, cracking down on piracy!

One response so far

Ballmer admits flaws in MS licensing, no change in sight

Oct 15 2009: Published by under Uncategorized

At a recent event in London, Steve Ballmer was asked about Microsoft’s complex licensing policies to which he acknowledged that yes, Microsoft licensing isn’t simple, never has been and probably never will be. So, is there a chance for changes in the near future? Nope, of course not!  Ballmer even bolded stated that it just isn’t going to happen.

So, here’s our advice to combat this.

  1. Start paying attention to the fine print. Look at your terms and conditions.
  2. Be smart and don’t give any information away to Microsoft until you understand what you have and where you have gaps.
  3. Review your business needs and align with your software solutions.
  4. Ensure that there is an annual internal audit of all your software licensing.
  5. Put in a good software asset management program – from creation of policies to procedures to an official procurement office.

Be proactive. Don’t wait until Microsoft’s growing licensing policies catch up to you. Remember, Microsoft and the ever present, ever watchful BSA is watching you.

Two more victims of the BSA

Sep 24 2009: Published by under Uncategorized

We have been giving many examples of companies that had to shell out to vendors after being audited and caught by the BSA. Most of them have been overseas so it didn’t hit as close to home as these next two examples will:

Mueller Services, Inc., of Tonawanda, NY paid $62,270 to settle claims that it had unlicensed copies of Adobe and Microsoft software installed on its computers. The tip came in through the BSA’s reporting website anonymously.

Bankers Warranty Group Inc., of St. Petersburg, FL, paid $70,000 to settle claims that it had unlicensed copies of Adobe, Microsoft and Symantec software installed on its computers. This tip also came in through the tip website. Both companies had to agree to delete all unlicensed copies of software on its computers, purchase any licenses necessary to become compliant, and commit to implementing stronger software asset management (SAM) practices.

These folks aren’t messing around. With organizations like the BSA and big clients like Microsoft and Adobe, you had better believe vendor audits will only continue to increase.

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