License Ambiguities in Software Audits

Without a contractual provision to the contrary, ambiguous terms in a software license will be construed against the software publisher. Provided that there are no other business factors that would make litigation unwise, an ambiguous license agreement is the situation most likely to lead to litigation. Construction against the Drafter When dealing with ambiguities, it…


Common Mistakes in Software Audits

The most common mistake we encounter in software audits is the failure to compile and produce accurate installation information. Like all technology projects, collecting the information to produce in response to a request for an audit can be very complicated and time consuming. To begin the audit process, it is necessary for the company to…


Software Audit Timeline

One of the top ten questions asked by my clients is “How long does the self-audit process take from start to finish?” Of course I give the standard lawyer answer: it depends. Here are the steps to a typical software audit. Preparation of Audit Materials (3 to 6 months) A software audit is a request,…


Unbundling Software Suites in Software Audits

One of the most controversial tactics the software policing agencies use when calculating its settlement demands is its practice of unbundling software suites such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. Unbundling occurs when the target of an agency audit is unable to provide acceptable proof of purchase for one or more installation of a…


When to Buy vs. Uninstall in Software Audits

One of the most common mistakes I encounter in software audits is what I call the post-effective date software buying spree. The buying spree occurs in response to a letter from a publisher or publisher’s attorneys requesting a self audit. Many clients are discouraged to learn that software purchases made after the date of the…


Adopting Software Use Policies to Protect Against Copyright Infringement Claims

The Business Software Alliance (“BSA”), and the Software & Information Industry Association (“SIIA”) pursue copyright infringement claims on behalf of software publishers, such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk, among many others.  Typically the BSA and SIIA send audit letters to companies believed to be using unauthorized copies of software products.  In their letters, they demand that the…