More BSA Warnings

Stealing software is a crime, but losing your paperwork isn't. Why does the BSA punish both the same?

Paul McNamara exposes how the Business Software Alliance attacks small businesses here. His warnings were triggered by a thorough story from AP you can read here. You can see my take on the BSA in this clip from a speech in Portland last year, and in this Best Practices article.

Why does the BSA attack small businesses? Because small businesses don't have enough lawyers to fight back. Even when they have a strong, even outstanding, case, small to mid-sized businesses can't pay for lawyers to fight against the likes of Microsoft and Oracle.

Dallas attorney Rob Scott is the leading defender I know helping protect small businesses against the abuses of the BSA. Scott has offered to defend companies against the BSA for free to help get an actual court case decision regarding the way the BSA defines "legal" software, but none have had the courage to play David against a software Goliath. Even when businesses know their software was purchased legally, but can't find the exact paperwork acceptable to BSA, they still cave against the barrage of lawyers backed by billions of dollars.

If the BSA really wants to help, why don't they publish on their Web site exactly what they're looking for to prove license compliance for their member companies? Will that ruin their Mafia-inspired extortion business?

When I first reported on these software bullies, I asked Jenny Blank, chief enforcement officer for the Bully Software Alliance, what she considered legally acceptable proof for legal use of Microsoft Office. She refused to answer and told me to talk to Microsoft. I asked Microsoft, and they refused to answer and told me to talk to the BSA. Is it any wonder businesses have no clue what's legal in the world of software "ownership" today?

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