RealTime IT News

BSA Offers Olive Branch for Software Licensing

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an anti-piracy watchdog group representing some of the biggest names in the software industry, has announced a one-month grace period for Boston businesses to acquire or renew licenses without facing penalties for past infringements.

The alliance said the one-month grace period will launch on February 1 and is set up to allow businesses in the Boston are to "review their software programs and acquire the licenses they need to get legal without facing penalties for past infringement imposed by BSA."

Between February 1-28, the high-powered alliance plans to target approximately 540,000 business contacts simultaneously in Boston, Mass., Chicago, IL., Albuquerque, NM., Dallas, TX., Louisville, KY., Harrisburg, PA and Seattle, WA.

The olive branch was offered to allow businesses a chance to catch up, conduct a software audit and acquire the necessary licenses they need to avoid legal penalties, BSA said in an announcement Monday. "This is a great opportunity for businesses to resolve any compliance issues before they become subjects of a BSA investigation," it warned.

The alliance, which includes Microsoft , Adobe Systems , Apple Computer , Macromedia and Network Associates , issued a firm warning that ignoring the software licensing problems can be costly for businesses.

[We recognize] that, for whatever reason, some businesses may not have managed their software assets properly, but ignoring the problem can lead to substantial financial exposure," said Bob Kruger, the BSA's VP of enforcement.

He said companies that take part in the one-month Grace Period and take the necessary steps to become fully licensed will be excused from penalties for software violations occurring prior to February 28, 2003. The penalties include fines up to $150,000 per copyright work infringed.