Beware “Document Soup” Software Licensing

On July 22, 2010, software publisher AccuSoft sued Northrop Grumman Systems in federal court for breach of contract, copyright infringement and trademark infringement related to Northrop’s use of AccuSoft’s ImageGear and ImageTransport software. Northrop allegedly used and integrated AccuSoft’s products in the development of a paperless records information system it developed for the U.S. military….


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,…


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…