Regardless of whether you are running unlicensed software on your computer networks, it is likely just a matter of time before your business receives a letter from the Business Software Alliance. Having represented many companies in BSA audits, Scott & Scott’s lawyers believe that there are only two types of companies: those that have been audited by the BSA and those that will be audited by the BSA. The Business Software Alliance spends substantial resources marketing to disgruntled employees and vendors to encourage them to “rat” on your business. Under the promise of confidentiality and without any accountability for false reporting, these vindictive complaints may cause injury to you, your business, and your business’ reputation.
Your business, regardless of its size, is a target because no matter what, someone is going to think you treated them unfairly and will make a report to “get even.” The vast majority of BSA audits are the result of tips made by disgruntled ex-employees. In addition, the BSA’s members are increasingly deploying anti-piracy technologies including product tracking and phone-home technologies.
BSA Audit FAQ
Q. Can I find out who made the report that resulted in a BSA audit of my company?
A. The Business Software Alliance will not voluntarily release the names of their informants because the promise of confidentiality increases the volume of reports. In the event of litigation, it is likely however that the factual basis for the allegations in the lawsuit, including the informant’s information, may be discovered.
Q. Can we force the Business Software Alliance to disclose the name of its informant and the information provided?
A. The name of the informant may discoverable in litigation. In audit BSA Audit matters, the identity of the informant is not revealed. The BSA’s policy is not to disclose the identity of the informant unless required to do so by law.
Q. Does my company have a claim against the informant?
A. There are two theories of recovery against a software piracy informant. If the informant was subject to an employee agreement with a confidentiality provision, a breach of contract claim may be available. If the informant was involved in the deployment of the allegedly unlicensed software an indemnity claim for any copyright damages may be available against the informant.
BSA Audit Resources