Software Licensing Compliance

Most of us use software. Any software we use is regulated by the terms of the particular software license. Many software licenses especially those that are not open source, limit in various ways software use. Some licenses allow home use only, some limit the amount of computers a software may be used on and some are intended for commercial use.

Software licensing compliance is sometimes taken lightheartedly or overlooked. Using software without a license or using it outside the terms of a license may be a breach of copyright. The ease with which people can acquire cheap pirated software makes it an easy option. Cheap may come at a price though, especially when compliance watchdog BSA (Business Software Alliance) comes knocking on peoples door.

BSA represents the worlds largest software companies, such as Microsoft, Adobe, HP, IBM, Intel etc. BSA operates in many countries around the world and its main lines of activities are to promote and enforce licensing compliance and stop and deter copyright infringment of it’s members properties. It uses various means to collect information including “sqealing” hotlines, private detectives and on site “surprise” visits to businesses.

Businesses are advised to assess whether they are in compliance with their software licenses. Whether a business wishes to get compliance advice or if approached by the BSA, getting expert legal advice is highly recommended. If BSA reps come knocking at your door, you do not have to let them in unless they have a court warrant to that effect. In any event, contact a lawyer at once to guide you.