Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
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March Madness: The BSA is on a Roll

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It’s been a big month for the BSA. Since the beginning of March, the BSA has issued press releases documenting five U.S. settlements totaling close to $525,000 (see the list of losers below). Over the years, I’ve attempted to ferret out patterns that would suggest certain types of organizations may be at higher risk of a BSA software audit; but as usual, the companies involved span a wide range of sizes, geographies, and industries. The only common thread I can find among all five (aside from the predominance of Adobe and Microsoft software) is an identical string of text embedded within each press release: “BSA was alerted to the unlicensed software use by a confidential report made on its web site” (Read my recent blog post elaborating on this trend.)

Though it may seem self-serving for software license management vendors such as ourselves to continue harping on the importance of rigorous asset management practices, it’s clear that the message isn’t getting through to many end-user organizations. In times fraught with layoffs, salary cuts, and a general sense of workplace malaise it’s not reasonable to assume businesses can successfully curb workers’ very human instinct to inflict reciprocal damage upon their impassive corporate leaders—especially when it can be done with the impunity of whistleblower status and the ability to claim the moral high ground. One thing companies can control, however, is the perpetuation of careless, if not downright reckless, software licensing practices. Business executives can add this to the ever-growing list of good reasons to insist upon the establishment of a thoughtful, comprehensive software asset management strategy. It may just be best way to break the BSA’s winning streak.

Organization: Gibson Overseas
Location: California
Vertical: Housewares
Settlement: $65,000
Unlicensed Software: Adobe, Microsoft

Organization: Wausau Steel Corporation
Location: Wisconsin
Vertical: Manufacturing
Settlement: $144,000
Unlicensed Software: Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft, Solidworks

Organization: Pine Belt Automotive
Location: New Jersey
Vertical: Retail
Settlement: $97,000
Unlicensed Software: Microsoft, Symantec

Organization: iCan Benefit Group
Location: Florida
Vertical: Insurance
Settlement: $61,500
Unlicensed Software: Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec

Organization: Scheidt & Bachmann USA, Inc.
Location: Massachusetts
Vertical: Technology
Settlement: $156,000
Unlicensed Software: Adobe, Autodesk, Corel, Microsoft