Any organisation uses software. The use of this software is on conditions that are often set out in the license terms. It may concern limited numbers of users or use of specific versions of the software.
The BSA traces ‘illegal software’ on behalf of large American software suppliers such as Microsoft, Oracle, Autodesk and Adobe. The BSA thereby represents itself as ‘software police’, but is just a club representing the software-industry. When the BSA does indeed find illegal software, you will receive a bill for unpaid license fees plus substantial ‘fines’.
It is therefore highly possible that the BSA has the opinion that you are operating in an illegal manner, without you being aware.
What can you do to avoid the BSA?
- Conduct a tight licensemanagement and regularly inspect your systems for illegal copies of software. Often the danger is hidden, for example on a PC of a departed employee of yours.
- Use scan tools with which you can scan your systems and PC’s; IT-services providers can do this scanning for you too.
- We can assist and advise you with a risk assessment and an assessment of the licenses and the terms and conditions.
What can you do when the BSA carries out a raid?
- Call us immediately and send us the documentsyou have received from the bailiff. We can check whether these are correct. When the formalities are complied with (permission of the court), you have to cooperate and grant access to the bailiff and IT-expert. They will investigate all the company’s computers.
- Ask proof of identity from the people who want to enter and verify who must be admitted on the basis of the documents. In principle the BSA itself is not welcome, unless stated in the permission of the court.
- Try to constantly monitor what the bailiff and IT-expert are doing.
When illegal software has been found, you usually receive a settlement proposal. This can be negotiated, so do not pay the proposed amound immediately. It is by no means certain whether the license fees in your case have been calculated correctly and whether the ‘fines’ have been imposed justifiably. Often the BSA takes a shot in the dark with the claim of licensefees, costs and fines. Besides, it is not certain whether the software supplier is even entitled to payment of a ‘fine’ (actually compensation of damages), when you pay all license fees at a later date.
You can benefit from our extensive experience with BSA-matters and our experience in the area of IT-law to limit the damage to a minimum.