Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner, Scott & Scott, LLP
Shrinking IT budgets and fierce competition among software publishers have created explosive growth in the incidence and frequency of software audits - a mechanism by which software publishers investigate their customers to determine if they are in compliance with software licenses and copyright laws. In addition to developing internal enforcement operations, many publishers have engaged trade associations to perform enforcement activity under power of attorney. Many companies are paying substantial fines and suffering negative publicity. Properly preparing for and responding to software audits can reduce the financial and organizational impact on your business. According to the BSA's Sixth Annual Global Software Piracy Study, "...a large portion of non-compliant software is deployed by mistake, either by consumers buying cheap software that they do not realize is counterfeit, or by IT departments making mistakes in managing volume licenses." Businesses that are most prepared and properly represented will have the greatest success in defending the inevitable software audit.