Helpful Tips When Facing BSA Audits

By Ann Green

Companies use software for different purposes they need it for. These need to be bought or the license for their used be purchased so that you can install them on the computers in your company. But because of the quantity of software and computers that you may be using, you might not be able to assess them all and some could have an unlicensed software installed.

An enforcement agency called Business Software Alliance that is being funded by the software companies to check on other companies that may be using their products illegally. They will send letters to suspected companies for BSA audits and will commence an investigation after. Here are a few tips upon receiving such a letter from them.

Look for and prepare a legal counsel when you received the audit request from BSA. They have expert lawyers when it comes to copyright laws so be prepared with your own legal experts. Your lawyer should have experiences with complicated cases just like these so he can properly help you out.

Do not risk facing litigation in court and cooperate carefully with them instead. Ignoring the letter in the hopes that they will not come after you is not an option but you have to negotiate with them the best settlement as much as possible. Make certain that all the information found during the auditing procedures would be unusable on court but for settlement purposes only be having a confidentiality contract.

Buying the license after receiving the letter will not help you in resolving the infringement issue. And uninstalling will neither help your case as well. There is always a chance of having shortages on licenses even among the most careful companies so you could investigate where the unlicensed one is installed and check when it was. The user of that unit may happen to be the informant so you could also start an investigation about it.

Carefully preserve the evidences and keep it confidential so you can protect it from being discovered during the unlucky chance of facing litigation. Have your attorney oversee all auditing procedures and let him supervise the IT staffs to prevent them from disclosing unnecessary information. If your IT staff will be the only one preparing the audit report, there might be things that can be used against you so let your attorney help.

Consider having a SAM or software asset management team. They will be tasked in keeping all your applications up to date and licensed to prevent facing the same problem again with the BSA. Have them as a part of the compliance plan you will be sending them to show your sincerity in making amends.

When it is done, send the results of your audits but make sure to include a confidentiality clause to prevent them from using it on court. Wait for a response and send more information if request but with the confidentiality clause. Rebut and refute it if ever they send a response with untrue facts but do it in respectful way with firmness so you will not appear contentious.

Negotiate for a settlement that you could possibly able to comply. Do not agree with a high price of settlement as much as possible and seek for other options. Settle your case with a written release settlement agreement with a clause of confidentiality.

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