From Torrent Freak:
Over the past two decades the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has represented major software companies, including Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec, in their fight against under-licensed businesses.
This has resulted in audits at thousands of companies worldwide, whose computers are carefully inspected to see if the business owner has failed to pay his or her dues.
While companies are often contractually obliged to comply with such audits, BSA’s selection procedures are raising eyebrows.
Since a few years the industry group has been actively soliciting tips from the public about potentially infringing companies. Promising hard cash rewards, it asks “whistleblowers” to expose any wrongdoing.
BSA generally follows up these tips with a threatening letter to the business owner in which it requests an audit, something they are contractually obliged to agree to.
If unlicensed software is found during an audit, the group generally follows up with a demand for damages, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars for some companies.
To find out more about the process TorrentFreak spoke with Robert J. Scott, managing partner at Scott & Scott, LLP., who has represented hundreds of defendants in BSA related cases over the past couple of years.
According to Scott a typical audit request comes after “a tip by a disgruntled employee or former employee, often seeking to recover advertised reward money.”
Many of Scott’s clients liken BSA’s tactics to a form of extortion, but he prefers not to use this term. In principle he believes that software companies…