Written by attorney Steve C. Vondran

Tips to responding to a BSA audit letter

This video will discuss the 5 most important things business owners should know when they receive a letter claiming that they are infringing software copyrights from companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Autodesk, Adobe, Symantec, Rosetta Stone and others. Some of the most important things to keep in mind are:


  1. Lawyer up (if you call the intellectual property lawyers representing the software publishers, they will be taking diligent notes and will probably seek to use your own words against you). Unfortunately, being nice does not work in the real world.

  2. Do not throw the letter in the trash (ignoring the letter could result in your answering a lawsuit in federal court);

  3. Bring the issue to the attention of the board of directors (this is a serious legal issue with $150,000 per infringement of copyrighted work being threatened). It is important to note that officers and director's could be held liable, and each may need to hire their own counsel. Failure to bring this to their attention could result in devastating consequences.

  4. Make sure all of your negotiations are protected by a confidential settlement agreement (since software infringement lawsuits are FEDERAL cases, you will want protection offered by a FRE 408 agreement). Most companies do not know what this is or what it entails so have a firm protect you makes good sense.

  5. Do not feel pressured to agree to their demands. Some clients feel like this is "extortion" being that the approach taken is often very aggressive. Instead, hire copyright counsel to protect you, and investigate all possible defenses and seek to negotiate from a position of strength, rather than weakness.

These are some of the main tips. The BSA or Autodesk audit demand letter should be taken as a "wake up call" and every company should take measures to beef up its SAM (software asset management) practices to ensure all software is properly licensed, not pirated, and all receipts and proofs of purchase are accounted for. This will reduce legal exposure in the long run.

To conclude, we can help you survive a software audit (SIIA, Autodesk, BSA, Microsoft and others) and we have tremendous legal experience helping businesses both large and small protect against hefty fines, penalties, and to keep them OUT of federal copyright court. We offer low flat rate fees and tenacious legal representation. Call us at (877) 276-5084.

Additional resources provided by the author

Here are some other helpful places to look for information when you are facing a software licensing audit: 1. 2. (check their software piracy reporting) 3. If you have other questions, please contact us at (877) 276-5084.

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