If you have never heard of the Business Software Alliance (“BSA”), consider yourself lucky. Then consider yourself uninformed. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing from BSA, the Business Software Alliance was formed in the late 1980’s by software companies, including Microsoft and Apple, in order to watchdog business compliance with software licenses.
BSA is rumored to get most of its leads from disgruntled employees who are only too happy to turn in their former employers. And let’s face it, while software compliance is typically a priority for companies, managing licensing compliance and achieving licensing compliance is a challenge.
If BSA knocks on your door, hold on to your wallet! From all accounts, BSA is interested in settling issues, but seemingly minor instances of non-compliance can result in significant fines. BSA knows that the threat of litigation and the cost associated with it is often enough to force cooperation from targeted companies.
If your company is targeted by BSA, you will typically receive a letter asking you to conduct an internal audit of your software and software licenses. Before doing so, you should consider contacting competent counsel who will assist you with the audit. Don’t waive or give up opportunities afforded under the attorney client privilege or the work product doctrine by conducting the audit yourself. There are other protections afforded to you that competent counsel can assist you with.