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Get advice before filing BSA audit

Daniel Thomas
Lawyers have urged users to treat the Business Software Alliance's annual software licensing audit return with caution, despite the organisation's assertion that it is focusing on effective software asset management rather than enforcement.

The BSA, which represents suppliers such as Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, launched the audit last week. In an apparent change of direction, the BSA has branded this year's audit a "software detox" campaign, highlighting the dangers of using illegal software, such as increased susceptibility to viruses and lack of support.

The move follows BSA-commissioned research which found that 32% of UK firms either were not licence-compliant or did not know whether the software installed has been copied or downloaded illegally.

Mike Newton, campaign manager at the BSA, said, "The emphasis has changed to helping users rather than threatening them. We have had the benefit of engaging with user groups and realise that many firms simply do not know what their situation is."

However, Kit Burden, IT partner at solicitors Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, said, "My advice to recipients of BSA letters is: handle with extreme care, do not respond without obtaining legal advice, and thoroughly investigate the situation internally before responding to them."

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