Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Protect Your Business from Liability for Software Piracy

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Protect Your Business from Liability for Software Piracy

Article excerpt

According to a study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software Publishers Association, as many as 4 out of 10 software applications now in use are pirated. If your company--or firm--can't document the license for every copy of each program installed on its computers, it is violating the law. The BSA maintains over 50 telephone hot lines around the world (888-NO-PIRACY or 888-667-4722 in the United States) and a Web site (www.nopiracy.com) to facilitate whistleblowing. On behalf of its members--including Microsoft, Novell, Adobe and others, the association actively pursues credible tips. Under U.S. copyright law, people or companies caught with unlicensed software are liable for damages either up to $100,000 per program or all profits dependent on the pirated software or both.

According to Bob Kruger, the BSA's vice-president of enforcement, "Most companies that we investigate are well-managed. They obey the law when it comes to taxes, OSHA and EPA regulations, but they have a better idea about how many paper clips they have than about how many copies of which software are on their computers." Here's what your firm should do to make sure it's complying with the law:

[] Appoint a manager to be responsible for software planning and management.

[] Create a well-documented software usage policy confirming your organization's commitment to ongoing compliance with copyright law. …

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