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It’s 9 a.m. Do you know if your software is licensed?

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The Oregonian (11/26/07) has a story by Brian Bergstein (AP), “Software copyright watchdog takes bite out of small business” that puts a human face on the Business Software Alliance strategy:

Excerpt: ‘An Associated Press analysis reveals that targeting small businesses is lucrative for the Business Software Alliance, the main copyright watchdog for such companies as Microsoft, Adobe Systems and Symantec.

Of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90 percent came from small businesses, the AP found.

The BSA is within its rights to wring expensive punishments aimed at stopping software copying. And its leaders say they focus on small businesses because that’s where illegitimate software use is rampant.

But software experts say the picture has more shades of gray. Companies of all sizes inadvertently break licensing rules because of problems created by the software industry. Unable or unwilling to create technological blocks against copying, the industry has saddled its customers with complex licensing agreements that are hard to master. …
….
… Rob Scott, an attorney who specializes in defending BSA targets, says many are so put off that they explore a switch to open-source software that lacks such legal entanglements.

Gaertner, who worried his BSA encounter would crush his business, wants to rid himself of the Autodesk, Microsoft and Adobe software involved in the case.

“It’s not like they have really good software. It’s just that it’s widespread and it’s commonly used,” he said. “It’s going to be a while, but eventually, we plan to get completely disengaged from those software vendors that participate in the BSA.”’

More Information:

Copyright infringement here, here, here, and everywhere.

Open-source here, here, here, and everywhere.

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