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Crying Foul At the BSA's "Nauseating" Anti-Piracy Tactics 235

Posted by timothy
from the be-a-shame-if-anything-was-t'-happen dept.
Barence writes "The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has been accused of heavy-handed tactics that could drive small companies to incriminate themselves. The Microsoft-backed piracy watchdog generates a quarter of its cases by offering employees cash rewards for informing on their own employer. 'It is basically harvesting allegations from disgruntled employees and farming them out to expensive law firms,' one small business owner told PC Pro, who said he was 'nauseated' by the tactics. The BSA then sends out a letter demanding the business owner fill out a software audit, or potentially face court action — even though the BSA has no power to demand such an audit and hasn't pursued a court case in five years. 'It's designed to scare the recipient into thinking that they're obliged to provide certain information when, in fact, it's difficult to see that they are,' said a leading IT lawyer."
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Crying Foul At the BSA's "Nauseating" Anti-Piracy Tactics

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  • Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bgman (1059448) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:22PM (#39370361)
    One of many, many reasons my small business uses linux.
    • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:30PM (#39370473) Homepage Journal

      And open-source software in general. Yeah, this kind of scaring will just scare organizations right into the lap of OSS. Keep it, suits! You are doing an outstanding job!

      • correction: "Keep it up". Sorry about that. I read it 3 times, but my mind saw what it expected instead of what was already there.

        • by ChipMonk (711367) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:22PM (#39371079) Journal
          The original can stand, as well. The suits can keep their crappy proprietary systems. They can keep their heavy-handed tactics. And they can keep digging their hole, all the way to China.
          • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @08:55PM (#39372675) Journal

            Ever since its inception, BSA is nothing but crap

            Back in the 1990's, they have sent me threatening emails and letters - without even haven't proven that I have pirated anything

            Back then I attended some CAD/CAM seminars offered by Audodesk - and in those events they handed out forms in which we filled in our names, company names, email address, snailmail address and so on

            Before I attended those seminars, I got no threatening email nor letters filled with legalese jargons, threatening to take me to court for "using unauthorized software"

            I mean, it's a total fuck

            I attended those seminars to learn more about CAD/CAM, it does not mean I own any CAD/CAM software, but of course, BSA doesn't care

            They just took the name list from the seminar organizers and mass-mailing the threatening letters

            After those encounters, I stopped attending any Autocad seminar and in a few years, those threatening letters also stopped coming

            BSA's way of handling their customers, even potential customers, is totally ridiculous

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Back in the day, I worked for a subsidiary of Waldenbooks (remember them?), known as Waldensoftware. The head honcho, at the time, was a real asshole named Glenn Ochsenreiter. Under him, guess what was allowed policy?

              - Employees could "check out" software (this was considered "product knowledge training")
              - Software returns were allowed, checked, and re-shrinkwrapped for resale! (See above^)
              - Non-demo programs were often loaded on in-store computers. They were also re-shrunk.
              - "Spiffs" were awarded to employ

            • by charlieo88 (658362) on Friday March 16, 2012 @10:35AM (#39377219)

              BSA's way of handling their customers, even potential customers, is totally ridiculous

              Customer? Where did you get the idea you are their customer? Autodesk, and Adobe, and Microsoft... THOSE are their customers. You? You are the product they sell.

      • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Krishnoid (984597) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:49PM (#39370699) Journal
        This case [cnet.com] happened a while ago; any comparable non-tech companies that have a similar story to tell?
      • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:32PM (#39371211)

        Yeah, this kind of scaring will just scare organizations right into the lap of OSS. Keep it, suits! You are doing an outstanding job!

        The BSA has been doing this practice since 1988. It doesn't appear to have scared many organizations to OSS.

        I am sure that a few have made the switch to OSS, but I imagine that the number would be insignificant compared to the organizations who change their practices to pay for all the software they use. It is still going to be worth it for the BSA and its member companies.

        Besides, it is not much of a threat to say that if you get audited then you will stop pirating commercial software and start using open source.

    • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GoblinKing (6434) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:51PM (#39370725)

      I have been running a small business since 2001 and have only ever used open source software for just this reason. No restrictive licenses equals no legal fees for software piracy.

      I think, however, that Microsft and the BSA should be MORE aggressive in their pursuit of these heinous villains of industry. Maybe it will drive more businesses towards using F/OSS tools and ditch their shackles. Something very Marxian about it ....

    • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:54PM (#39370747)

      Using linux doesn't protect your business from a disgruntled employee claiming you have stolen software, and the MS-BSA sending you a scary software audit letter "or else we will drag you to a court of law".

      BTW these megacorps use government regulations in the same fashion -- to harass small business citizens.

      • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:13PM (#39370997)
        It does, however, prevent you from funding them. I know it is only a drop in the bucket, but it is my drop damn it!
      • Since they haven't pursued a court case in 5 years it would seem they simply drop shit if people don't agree to pay them.

        Now I'm not saying don't use OSS, but it won't change the outcome of something like this at all between using licensed commercial software.

        For that matter if you actually agreed to their bullshit audit (you shouldn't but saying you did) it would probably make life more difficult. If you have all your commercial software boxes n' licenses, they are pretty well stymied. I know a number of s

      • It makes finding all your licenses and making sure everything's in order a lot easier though.

        Because that's actually what costs you. Not the licenses. I know a lot of businesses that have (to their best knowledge) everything in order but they buy computers "bulk", computer, system, everything rolled into one bill. They don't tend to waste a lot of time making a big inventory of their licenses.

        So when this scare letter comes, they spend a fair amount of time collecting bills and filling out forms... it's way

    • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RsG (809189) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:54PM (#39370755)

      Doesn't really help, what with the whole false accusations from disgruntled employees angle. Replying "no thanks, I use Linux" to them isn't going to do you much good. Replying at all isn't going to do you much good. It shows them that you're listening.

      A better approach is to simply ignore the BSA on principle. Threatening letters are cheap, subpoenas are expensive, and they do their business in bulk (meaning they can't actually sic their lawyers on most of their targets).

      Also, try not to have disgruntled employees. A big company can't avoid a few bad apples, but smaller businesses can vet new hires better and treat existing employees less like disposable resources. If nothing else, the BSA isn't the only recourse for a pissed off ex employee to screw his former boss. I once worked at a restaurant that got hit with a surprise health inspection shortly after a round of layoffs - the people running the place treated employees and health code rules about equally well and almost got shut down as a result (I would have said good riddance if they had, but it would have meant looking for a new job myself).

      • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Informative)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:58PM (#39370811) Journal

        No response at all is dangerous. A better response is "We are not in violation of any licenses. Please direct all further correspondence to our attorney. Find his contact information attached."

        I have a feeling in most cases it will end there.

        • Re:Use Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

          by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:15PM (#39371023)
          No response to a letter is not dangerous. No response to a certified letter or subpoena is dangerous...
          • by RsG (809189)

            Yeah, that's what I was getting at, should have phrased it more clearly. So, refining my original statement:

            If you get a threatening letter from the BSA demanding an audit, disregard it.

            If you get a subpoena, or anything else official, forward it to your lawyer.

            The letter is bait. Don't rise to it, and most likely they won't do anything about it. Actual court documents are too serious to ignore.

        • You are in business to make a living, give them a figure (say $5000 per workstation, $20000 per server plus expenses for the audit ) if they want an audit- since they are interfering with your business and you have done nothing wrong, you should be adequately compensated - contract drawn up of course.

          Send an invoice with the letter for the time taken to reply too.
        • by Skapare (16644)

          And don't forget to use the L word. That way they know there's nothing there any any court case will end up with money going the other way.

      • Also, try not to actually have pirated software. Even companies that claim in policy not to use pirated software sometimes do. Even those that are really serious about only using licensed software (which includes OSS, by the way) sometimes have bad apples who do it anyway. If you don't want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, don't break the law.

        This is not in favor or support of the BSA at all, you just left out the point that actually not breaking the rules they're claiming you're breaking is a go

        • Also, try not to actually have pirated software. Even companies that claim in policy not to use pirated software sometimes do.

          As you say, it can be quite difficult to ensure that a you have no pirated software. It may be easier in the long run for a company just to be nicer to their employees so that don't rat them out to the BSA in the first place!

          Let the fools have their tar-tar sauce!

        • It's easy to avoid bad apples using "bad" software in your company, the tool for that is called user management.

          Aside of that, companies often don't even know they're infringing. Copyright is such a vast and confusing legal matter (and don't start me on the licensing systems MS uses...) that any halfway decently sized company would have to hire a dedicated lawyer just for licensing. Now, how is that in any way sensible? Most simply accept the risk of an audit, it's cheaper.

        • by RsG (809189)

          This is not in favor or support of the BSA at all, you just left out the point that actually not breaking the rules they're claiming you're breaking is a good idea.

          Yeah, I left that out to be polite, since the OP was talking about running a FOSS only business. Wouldn't do to conflate the businesses that don't pay the BSA because they don't use BSA software with the businesses that don't pay the BSA because bittorrent is cheaper. Apples hate being called oranges.

          I don't doubt that some businesses do get threatened by the BSA thanks to anon complaints from ex employees, and actually do have pirated software. Even in the case of those companies, I'd tell them to get t

  • by v1 (525388) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:24PM (#39370389) Homepage Journal

    to come up with a nice comparison involving mob protection rackets. truly is a repulsive business practice, right up there with patent trolls and ambulance chasers.

  • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:27PM (#39370433)

    The Microsoft-backed piracy watchdog generates a quarter of its cases by offering employees cash rewards for informing on their own employer.

    I don't like the BSA, and I'm pretty neutral about Microsoft, but what is the point of saying the BSA is "Microsoft-backed"? They're also Adobe-, Apple-, and Dell- backed, among many others.

    • This site has had a lot of MS hating editors for a long time.

      • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:26PM (#39371125) Journal

        MS is hated for good reason: much patent trolling with Android being among the most recent victims, OOXML and file format lock in, Windows Genuine Advantage and Vista's DRM, and the Microsoft Tax to name just a few. And of course the BSA. Their entire attitude is about maintaining a monopoly and controlling and milking their users, not serving them. I really think the only thing keeping MS's empire alive these days is DirectX and PC gaming, and inertia and continuing prejudice against products that are not backed by traditional large corporations. MS has merely displaced IBM among conservative computer users.

        Or are you going to try to claim there isn't good reason to hate MS?

        • Your post demonstrates that well with going for the "Vista DRM" shit. That vague argument is composed of nothing more than misunderstanding of how Blu-ray licensing works (as in it requires secure driver paths, or you can't play it, period) combined with complete misinformation repeated from Peter Gutmann (who claimed Vista can't record high def sound, it can, I have used it and 7 to do so on many occasions). Some people on Slashdot, the editors in particular, go looking for reason to hate MS, rather than h

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:56PM (#39370789)

      I don't like the BSA, and I'm pretty neutral about Microsoft, but what is the point of saying the BSA is "Microsoft-backed"? They're also Adobe-, Apple-, and Dell- backed, among many others.

      The real reason is everybody hates Microsoft. It grabs eyeballs and gets a good debate going.

      What people will claim the 'real reason' is is that Microsoft is a high profile target and if you focus on them it'll cause them to change and everybody else will magically fall into line. The same thing happened with Apple and Foxconn. So far it has proven to be an effective way to cause short-term change with one company, but you'll notice that there hasn't been any real hubub on Slashdot about the Chinese workers there. That died down, so the other companies can merrily go about their routine. Looks like there's a downside to focusing all that rage on one target.

      So, yes, maybe a little more attention should be directed at everybody backing the BSA.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:57PM (#39370797) Journal

      The answer is simple for many of them:

      * Apple doesn't really care (each copy of OSX/iOS runs on Apple-sold hardware, and Apple is mostly consumer-oriented these days anyway, so...)
      * What does Dell have software-wise that would get the BSA all hot and bothered? PERC raid card drivers? ...now Adobe, Oracle, and those boys? Oh yeah, they'd get hot and bothered about business copying, but how ubiquitous are these apps in the business world? Photoshop is mostly restricted to marketing and graphic arts departments. Oracle is mostly big enterprise-level stuff, where folks use RFP/RFQs to purchase the things. Nearly every other member of the BSA is similarly a niche player.

      On the other hand, Microsoft has their fingers in (nearly) the entire business world, and most cases (IIRC) are instigated over Microsoft software. So it stands to reason that the biggest beneficiary (and most likely the biggest backer) is, well, Microsoft.

    • At least, it was in 2009 according to these guys: http://scottandscottllp.com/main/BSA_Dirty_Tricks_Update.aspx [scottandscottllp.com]
    • Yet ironically at the same time people also gave MS a pass on SOPA since they didn't openly support it even those both the BSA and ESA did which MS are in. So in my mind I'm not that fussed because clearly a lot of people don't realise MS in those groups.
  • Dear BSA (Score:5, Funny)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:30PM (#39370471)
    Everything runs on Linux over here, you are not even allowed in the door, and if you try to enter you will be escorted out by a HUGE man that hates authority figures, (i hired him because he is the type that hates authority figures)
    • Re:Dear BSA (Score:5, Funny)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:36PM (#39370545) Journal

      i hired him because he is the type that hates authority figures

      That would make you his boss. Are you sure you thought that through properly?

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "That would make you his boss. Are you sure you thought that through properly?"

        He may be a very "beta" boss.

      • I just took that to mean the man who hired him was even bigger than this big man who hates authority figures
    • Arent you an authority figure to him, if you're his employer?

      • by LostOne (51301)

        Well, you know, he didn't say he hired the HUGE man to like him, did he? I dunno about you, but if I am gaining something I value highly enough, I can put up with a lot of people I hate.

    • by isorox (205688)

      Everything runs on Linux over here, you are not even allowed in the door, and if you try to enter you will be escorted out by a HUGE man that hates authority figures, (i hired him because he is the type that hates authority figures)

      How does he feel about his boss?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:31PM (#39370495)

    It pretty much fits the definition...

    I had a one man consulting company once. In order to appear larger, I often filled out web forms and indicated I had 50 to 100 employees. The BSA sent my company letter with their racketeering scam. I laughed because at the time I was a purely Linux and Mac environment. I wish I had kept that letter.

  • Sending-out extortionate letters that scare the receiver, for fear they might be drug to court. The only difference is that BSA letters don't demand $5000 bribe.

    What scum.

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:36PM (#39370543)

    The BSA then sends out a letter demanding the business owner fill out a software audit, or potentially face court action — even though the BSA has no power to demand such an audit and hasn't pursued a court case in five years. 'It's designed to scare the recipient into thinking that they're obliged to provide certain information when, in fact, it's difficult to see that they are,' said a leading IT lawyer."

    We've seen this tactic over and over. Any time someone is trying to make a revenue stream off of anything that can be digitally copied. MPAA, RIAA, BSA. Illegally gather information, pretend you're the police, then extort with the threat of a lawsuit.

    It's the system that's broken. That's the bigger problem. The parasites that get fat off the system are a symptom. Fix the system.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      yes, and the audit is, you guessed it, at the company's expense!

      Combine that with the fact that Microsoft' licensing terms is so obscure that even Microsoft salesman don't get it right, and you've got a win-win situation (for Microsoft, of course)

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:17PM (#39371043) Journal

        I've told the story here before but about three or four years ago the company I was working for went through a SAM review. So far as we could tell, it was because the company had bought out a previous organization, including software licenses, and then we had decided not to renew the very expensive Software Assurance agreement.

        I get this very pleasant email from a Microsoft business partner telling me that they were going to conduct the audit, with a spreadsheet for me to fill out. I did my thing, even working with the reseller who had sold the previous company most of the licenses, got it all tickety-boo, and then the fun began. The guy kept coming back with more requests for clarification, with more issues, and finally, as this dragged on to three weeks, I finally lost my cool and sent the guy an angry email, CCed to the reseller, telling him that as far as I was concerned we were in full compliance, we had shown we had licenses for everything, and that this process was going to wrap up now.

        A few days later, the guy sent me an email saying that 5 CALs on one of our Server 2003 installs wasn't a proper match, and to bring us into compliance I would have to convert them from user CALs to device CALs. I sent an email back saying "Sure thing" and that was that. Never did convert them to device CALs either, fucking assholes. So far as I could tell, the whole process was designed to try to trip me up so that I would have to buy more licenses of something... anything. I'm sure the business partner would get a cut from that. My boss felt like sending the company a bill for the time wasted.

        • by jimicus (737525)

          I've been responsible for software licensing myself and I've reached the inescapable conclusion that you are not expected to get it right. Whether by accident or design, the system is set up to make you fail.

          Why? Simple. The licensing agreements are so labyrinthine that you practically need a team of lawyers in charge of licensing software.

          You've got some licenses that allow for employee personal use at home, some that allow for no more than a single spare copy for backup purposes (Oh that's good. So I can'

  • Reply letter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbauman (624611) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @05:48PM (#39370683) Homepage Journal

    They were sending out this letter years ago. If I got a letter like that, I would send them the following reply:

    Dear Mr./Ms. xxxxxxxx:

    I am in receipt of your letter dated yyyymmdd. I have reviewed our software and it is all in compliance with the licensing. I would like to invite you to our office but we are too busy to accommodate visitors. Thank you for your concern.

    Sincerely,

    nbauman

    I'm not sure how they would respond. I expect they would either forget about it, send a threatening but bluffing letter, or send a real threatening letter. I wouldn't let them into my premises unless I thought they could back it up with a court order.

    The defense would be, "The only person who installed illegal software was the ratxxx disgruntled employee who rattedxxxxxx informed on us to you."

    Of course if I really did have a lot of expensive illegal software, I'd check with my lawyer to figure out the most prudent response.

    I wonder how they could legally force you to let them investigate.

    They might bring a civil suit and force disclosure. Lawyers are extremely reluctant to commit perjury for their clients in discovery.

    • Re:Reply letter (Score:4, Informative)

      by SecurityGuy (217807) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:27PM (#39371149)

      I'm not sure how they would respond. I expect they would either forget about it, send a threatening but bluffing letter, or send a real threatening letter. I wouldn't let them into my premises unless I thought they could back it up with a court order.

      Why not go all the way and just require a court order?

      I wonder how they could legally force you to let them investigate.

      I don't know that they can force you to let them investigate, but some software licenses include a clause requiring you to cooperate with software audits. If you're licensed for such software, you're now in breach and they can probably revoke the license. All they need is evidence you're still using the software after that and that's grounds for a lawsuit, which includes discovery.

  • Seriously; I can think of one or two companies I've worked for, who illegally use MS and other proprietary products, that I would cherish the opportunity to return the fucking they gave me when I was wrongfully terminated for calling them out on their crimes.

    Had I realized that I can actually be compensated for narcing on the rat bastards, I'd have done it years ago...
  • by dryriver (1010635) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:04PM (#39370903)
    In many developing countries, the software industry deliberately allowed piracy to run wild for a few years. This ensured that even small/poor companies would buy PCs and install the very best/latest/most expensive commercial tools on them, and get used to doing business with these tools. Then the BSA (backed diplomatically by the U.S./Canada/EU - or in other words "the ever-altruistic Western Powers") lobbied/armwrestled many developing world governments into letting the BSA raid companies with their lawyers. So one minute you were in an environment where nobody cared what software your company installed. The next minute, the BSA knocked your front door down with a threatening-sounding court order and a small army of lawyers, and demanded that you "pay up" for every bit of software installed on various PCs around the office. This was a few years before most open source tools became good enough to use. In the long-term, this has backfired mightily, because the scathing experience of having your office raided by BSA droids/lawyers has driven lots of businesses in the developing world to look seriously at Open Source tools.
  • I distinctly remember in about 1999 I was walking through O'Hare airport and I saw an advertisement from the BSA posted on the wall. It had the caption, "Stab Your Boss in the Back," and a picture of a guy in a 3-piece suit with a knife in his back. I kick myself for not getting a photo of the sign. I have been hunting for a reliable record of this advertisement in vain.

    So, anyone who can find a picture, or other testimony to that nasty BSA ad will be a hero.

    There's a small chance that I remember wrong. Lik

  • Only problem is that BSA only screws small/mid size companies. I'm sure someone can turn this into a conspiracy lawsuit against them - since when have they gone after large companies? Never.

    I know of at least two people who reported piracy to BSA, and BSA's response to the person who reported it was "we do not see any evidence of piracy".

    • by ODBOL (197239)

      Do you know which companies were accused, or how big they were? On the face of it, such a response could indicate a decent discretion on the part of BSA, not pursuing a frivolous case. Based on other reports of BSA behavior, I tend to suspect the worse interpretation, but testimony is so much better than suspicion ...

      Only problem is that BSA only screws small/mid size companies. I'm sure someone can turn this into a conspiracy lawsuit against them - since when have they gone after large companies? Never.

      I know of at least two people who reported piracy to BSA, and BSA's response to the person who reported it was "we do not see any evidence of piracy".

    • C'mon, when has the schoolyard bully ever tried to take the lunch money from the football jocks?

    • by swalve (1980968)
      If a company is big enough, it will have one of those blanket/site licenses that don't really require counting seats.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#39371189) Journal
    Arkell v. Pressdram [wikipedia.org]:

    "We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off."
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:41PM (#39371275)

    Dear BSA,

    It has been a subject of much hilarity in this office that we should be sent a threatening letter from yourselves, a self-authority in software licensing with little to no legal authority to follow through on your threat.

    However, for your records it should be noted that as a registered company of Legal Advocates (Company #07248227), one of the things we tend to do is ensure that we operate completely legally. As software goes, this means the purchase of license keys as and when necessary. While we are not at liberty to discuss details for reasons of client information security and more to the point, national security, we can assure you and your employers at Microsoft and Adobe that our licenses are copasetic. When you can show the following, we would gladly participate in a full audit, at your expense and on your time:

    1. SCI-5 clearance signed by the Minister for Defence and the Home and Foreign Secretaries;
    2. Written Royal assent for the potential of disclosure of information which could affect the safety and security of Royal members, Crown properties and/or Subjects;
    3. A commitment to Non-Disclosure under Section 4 of the Official Secrets Act 1989, by persons thereto authorised to carry out the audit;
    4. Assent by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to cover the potential disclosure of information pertaining to live in camera proceedings;
    5. Reference to the Authority of Law by which the BSA operate;
    6. Reference to the Authority of Law which compels ourselves as individuals and the Company as a Legal entity to co-operate with a private concern whose singular purpose seems to be the extraction of money from legitimate businesses and individuals with zero return.

    When (not before) all the above conditions are met, shall we even consider further correspondence.

    Good Day to you, Sir.

    -

    Their response:

    Sir,

    We acknowledge receipt of your counteroffer, and hereby inform you that no further action shall be taken.

    Faithfully,

    pp.

  • by ODBOL (197239) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:44PM (#39371311) Homepage

    While hunting for material on BSA, I found the most concentrated anti-BSA material here: http://www.bsadefense.com/main/index.aspx [bsadefense.com]

    This is a law firm that makes money defending businesses against BSA, so you can be as skeptical as you like. As far as I read, their claims agree with what I have learned elsewhere.

  • by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @06:45PM (#39371329) Journal
    Any business owner should have a detailed register of their assets soft and hard. The register should be up to date, and it should be readily auditable. If you're serious about your business, the response to the BSA should be:

    Here is our register - showing the dates that we have regularly internally audited it. Oh, and from a software perspective, here is our policy regarding workstation rebuilds to obliterate non-company software - and our log of workstation rebuilds. Oh, and here is our staff policy that makes employees responsible for any illegal/unlicensed software on their workstations. Feel free to come and audit our register at your own expense.

    Any business that is not in a position to make this statement is not serious about being a business. I own a thriving software house and we have such a register, policies, etc. Let's face it folks - we're in IT. This kind of thing is almost trivial to set up - and it is relatively easy to maintain.
  • Ernie Ball (The guitar people) left Microsoft years ago because of these tactics. http://news.cnet.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html [cnet.com]
  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday March 15, 2012 @07:43PM (#39371893) Homepage

    Dear BSA:

    Your Audit Software failed to install. I had our senior system administrator take a look at it and he said it wasn't compatible with Wine. I asked him if maybe it would work with Beer. He gave be some puzzled look and mumbled something about a "DEB or RPM version". Do you know what he might be talking about?

    (signed) Bob, senior PHB.

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