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About the BSA | The Software Alliance

BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) is a “non-profit trade association created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners.” Its objective is promote legal software use and distribution around the world. The BSA aims to protect software providers’ intellectual property rights, enforce software copyright legislation, and investigate compliance in partnership with major digital players such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Intel, etc.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, BSA is active in more than 80 countries, with 11 offices worldwide. Visit http://ww2.bsa.org/country.aspx to explore their website. 

5 Myths in dealing with BSA:

1. “I am too small to worry”: FALSE. The size of the entity does not mean you are immune to copyright law. Our firm represented an organization as small as a professional services firm with just 2 professionals, 4 employees and 4 computers, who received a demand from the BSA to pay more than $20,000 for alleged copyright infringement.

2. “I paid for one copy, so I am ok.” FALSE. Even if you have one authorized copy, every computer in your organization may require a license. Also, even if you paid for the copies but you cannot prove it with invoices and records, you may have trouble.

3. “I have to give the BSA whatever they want”: FALSE. Any litigant has goals, needs and pressure points. Negotiation and litigation are options to resolve the action.

4. “It was my employee, not me, so I am off the hook”: FALSE. The corporation can be responsible for the actions of the employee if the employee’s actions benefit the corporation. If you have an employee who has a student edition of AutoCAD and they bring it to your office and work on your projects without a license, you can be liable.

5. “I can settle this myself”: FALSE. Like anything else, when you do something for the first time, you often don’t do it well.

Consulting an experienced lawyer is recommended in cases like this. Minden Gross LLP has lawyers who have experience with BSA and we can help.

BSA | The Software Alliance

Yes, You can fight the BSA

If you have either recently received a demand letter from the BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) demanding payment in connection with the alleged unlicensed use of software or you are worried you are about to, we can help.

You cannot just ignore the BSA’s demands and hope for the best. If you do, lawyers and police may seize your computers (as they execute the equivalent of a search warrant) and you might discover that you have a very large fine to pay.

While the BSA exists for a good purpose, and while software piracy is a serious issue, in our view, you may find their approach to be quite aggressive, leaving you uncertain if you have any option but to agree to their demands. 

The BSA claims on its website that they can seek damages of $20,000 per piece of software downloaded or copied without permission. However, this does not need to be the likely outcome in most situations.

No court will ever penalize you for retaining counsel to assert your rights. Counsel can help demonstrate that penalties should be substantially less than $20,000 per infringement and can help make your case one where these lesser penalties, if any, are the ones that are paid. 

If you have been contacted by the BSA or if you have infringed copyright and it has been brought to the attention of the BSA, there will be some consequences, but there is no reason you have to accept the BSA’s demands. There are options. There are better outcomes available. We can help you find them.

We have experience fighting the BSA. We have done so for over 10 years. We can help you to get the best possible deal.

The Truth about Adobe Systems Incorporated v. Dale Thompson DBA Appletree Solutions and The Business Software Alliance

For those who have received a demand letter from the business software alliance, here is something you should know.

In our experience, the BSA has referred to the Appletree case (Adobe Systems Incorporated v. Dale Thompson DBA Appletree Solutions) to try to convince people that resisting the BSA’s demands can be a costly mistake. In this case, almost $340,000 in damages were awarded to the BSA because of software piracy.

In our opinion, the Appletree case is not to be feared. The reality is that there were a very specific set of facts at play in Appletree [Read More]

Software Piracy

Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution and possession of copyrighted software without a license or permission of the owner of the authorized source. The Canadian Parliament amended the Canadian Copyright Act in 1988 to expressly include computer software programs in the definition of literary work, which clearly confirmed that software is entitled to copyright protection. The Canadian Copyright Act prohibits making unauthorized copies of software programs without the consent of the copyright owner. The Act also makes it an offence to knowingly produce, distribute, rent, or import for sale infringing copies of computer software. The Act was amended and modernized in 2012 to further strengthen these rights and remedies.

The Canadian Copyright Act can be found here:  http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/

BSA has a brief outline of software piracy and Canadian law here: http://www.bsa.org/~/media/Files/Antipiracy/enCA/CanadaKnowtheLaw.ashx

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