Think that great deal on software you just can’t live without is too good to be true? It could be. When purchasing software online, particularly from auction sites, caution is the keyword of the day.
Scott & Scott, LLP, a prominent software audit defense firm, is cautioning small to medium sized businesses to avoid purchasing deeply discounted software from eBay and other high risk vendors. In response to Microsoft´s lawsuit of eight eBay sellers, accusing them of distributing counterfeit versions of its software, they advise that the purchase of illegitimate software can leave you susceptible to significant fines in the event that the Business Software Alliance (BSA) or Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) conduct a software audit.
If your company purchases illegitimate software, you could end up spending significantly more than if you had procured the titles through a reputable discount provider, whose documentation can withstand audit scrutiny. In software audits, deeply discounted eBay invoices are routinely rejected by the BSA and the SIIA. Businesses frequently end up losing the money they spent for these products, need to purchase the titles again, and still face significant fines.
"The true victims of software counterfeiting are end-users, who unknowingly purchase discounted versions of software titles they believe to be legitimate," said Robert Scott, Partner, Scott & Scott, LLP. "Unfortunately for these businesses, when the BSA, SIIA or software publishers come knocking on their doors with the threat of a software audit, having purchased the titles in good faith will not provide a viable defense to a copyright infringement claim, leaving them susceptible to fines, frequently exceeding $100,000."
Scott & Scott says that small to medium sized companies are most frequently the target of BSA and SIIA software audits. Large enterprises are infrequently audited by these industry trade groups, and are more often than not, targeted directly by software publishers themselves.
So buyer beware. Make sure any software you purchase online has the appropriate licenses and permissions.
Have you been audited? Tell me about your experience by leaving a comment.