Software Licensing Compliance and the Business Software Alliance

February 28, 2011, 06:07 PM

Businesses should periodically audit their software license compliance, to be sure they have valid software licenses for all software programs used by the business. Failure to properly license computer software can result in costly copyright violations. The Business Software Alliance, a consortium including, among others, Microsoft Corp., Apple Computer, Inc. and Adobe Systems Incorporated, attempts to enforce the legal obligations of companies to license its members software programs, and, upon discovering violations (often by anonymous complaints), has the ability to seek significant fines under United States copyright laws. This firm has experience negotiating favorable resolutions of software audits requested by the Business Software Alliance. However, it is a far better practice for a business organization to self-police its software usage, and periodically ensure, through its in-house information technology department, or its outsourced information technology consultants, that all of the software being used by the organization has been appropriately and lawfully licensed. —Stephen E. Story