Software audits by groups such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) can cost businesses thousands of dollars each year. The purpose of these audits is to ensure that business enterprises have up-to-date software licensing to legally use products provided by Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, IBM, Oracle, and Intuit, just to name a few.
But these groups are funded by companies including Microsoft, so their interests are often placed ahead of those being audited.
When a business decides to purchase software from companies such as Microsoft or Oracle, the business must also purchase enough licenses for each employee using the software. And while most businesses comply with this practice, some choose to purchase one or two licenses and then install additional ‘unlicensed’ copies. This is known as software piracy.
Regardless of whether a business is aware that it has committed software piracy, once an audit is conducted, the business may face heavy fines for using unlicensed software.
This is why it is very important to keep accurate records of all software licenses including serial numbers, quantity and expiration dates. Updating these records often is also recommended as forgetting to renew software licenses could also result in an audit.
What to Do if Faced with a Software Audit
The size of your business will not deter the BSA or the SIIA from conducting a software audit. Many small companies (those with few than 100 computers) have been targeted. If faced with a software audit, you should contact an attorney who can explain how an audit works, what you are legally obligated to provide auditors, and your rights pertaining to how an audit is conducted.
In most cases, you will have to comply with the audit. This includes providing accurate and up-to-date software licensing records and allowing for the inspection of computer terminals to prove that all software in use is licensed.
Contact Lexero Today
Contact the Lexero Law Firm today if facing a software audit. If the audit reveals you have been using software without proper licensing on any of your computers, you could face large fines or criminal charges. At Lexero, we have attorneys trained in software audits (such as Microsoft software audits) and disputes who will fight for your rights.
Unfortunately, large software companies have an even larger team of attorneys on their side – but you deserve expert legal representation as well.