Business Software Alliance? - Anybody heard of this outfit? - RC Groups
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Oct 25, 2002, 09:33 PM
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Business Software Alliance? - Anybody heard of this outfit?

I work for a small company & today we got a rather insolent letter from some outfit called the Business Software Alliance stating that we had a grace period to make sure that all of the Software on our computers had the proper licenses & was not pirated. The letter went on to say that any software brought in & installed on employees individual computers would still make the company liable if that software is not properly licensed.
First of all, do these clowns have any authority or is it just a ploy to get some money from us? Secondly, what business is it of theirs what software we have on our computers & what keeps me from thowing them out on their ear if they show up at the door?
-Just curious before I file this in the round can-
Oct 25, 2002, 09:58 PM
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Gman2's Avatar
They do have the authority to fine you heavily if they can prove you have it and used it to make profits. As an individual, the co.s involved can force you to pony up the money to purchase their product. The new twist is your assertion that they are sending blanket threat letters. Most of the time they are using tattlers that are disgruntled ex employees. They are prolly stepping up efforts as software co.s are hurting right now big time. They have been advertising their threat on the radio in san diego.
Oct 26, 2002, 01:27 AM
Alarm Bells Softening!
Big Foot 48's Avatar
I think if you work for a small company you have little to worry from these guys. They like busting the big companies as that gives them the most bang for the buck with big newspaper headlines. Scares everyone into buying more licenses.

The can and do get search warrants issued and show up with the cops at companies they have proof of that do not have adequate software licenses. After all, when you bought and loaded that copy of Microsoft Office you agreed to only load it on one computer or only have one computer use it at a time!

Gman's right, with profits eroding they're looking for more cash flow wherever they can find it.

The moral of this story is: Stay on good terms with your MIS guys. Never fire them. And never discuss *lack of* software licensing with anyone in the office.
Last edited by Big Foot 48; Oct 26, 2002 at 01:39 PM.
Oct 26, 2002, 01:37 PM
Registered User
Phil G's Avatar
Actually you SHOULD discuss software licensing with everyone in the company.

Make it clear that it is a BAD idea to bring programs from home or to D/L them from the net to company computers.

It's also bad to take work software home or to NOT keep your antivirus SW up-to-date.

I always made it a point to have better antivirus than my employers had. One time I came out a hero because MY laptop detected a virus in the company system that THEY didn't know they had!

Oct 26, 2002, 02:53 PM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
The copyright owner can sue you for $150,000 PER INCIDENT of software piracy. That means every unlicensed copy of every application on every computer. Plus the BSA can get you (you being corporate officers or responsible party) for $250,000, 5 years, or both.

If you've received a letter you've probably been reported by an unhappy ex-employee, and you're likely to be investigated.
Oct 27, 2002, 08:53 AM
Registered User
This appears to be a form letter & we have not fired or let anyone go in several years. We only have (9) employees so there is really no money to be gained so to speak of. Even so, I will be checking on Monday to see what kind of software we have on our computers, I assume, we have licenses for everything but so much software comes preloaded on the computer. I know we pay Symantec for updates to Antivirus, does that constitute a license?
These guys sound like the software equivalent of Gestapo! Can they really obtain a search warrant on a tip from any Tom, Dick or Harry?
Oct 27, 2002, 09:18 AM
Registered User
I went to the BSA Web Site & it shows Ohio to be a "Non- Settlement State", what does that mean? I clicked on settlements reached in Ohio & there were none, the other states appear have settlements from Big companies so I guess they steer more toward the big fish.
Oct 27, 2002, 12:31 PM
Alarm Bells Softening!
Big Foot 48's Avatar
For a 9 person company I wouldn't worry about it (although having everything licensed is a good thing). If you are buying pre-loaded computers then there is even less to worry about.