What is unlicensed software?

Oct 07, 2016

The BSA compliance and enforcement division provides a simple definition on their website at www.bsa.org/anti-piracy. The definition describes unlicensed software that “is unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted software.” What the BSA does not provide in their definition or the examples that follow is how a company could prove that the software is properly licensed.

When the BSA sends a letter that demands a company to conduct its own internal investigation, it does not usually provide any detail as to how a company should submit the results. Accordingly, the letter usually requires that “proof of purchase” to be submitted. Again, there is no explanation as to what will constitute a valid proof of purchase. This ambiguity can lead to frustration and wasted time during an internal audit. 

There are several ways to prove proper licensing or proper authorization to use software. However, software licenses often contain tricky terms that can make matching proof of purchase to the software in use a time consuming, if not complex proposition. 

In the event a company receives a BSA audit letter demanding proof of non-infringement, it can be helpful to seek the advice of an attorney with experience in negotiating with the BSA.



bsa audit