ChannelAdvisor Fined $150,000 For Unlicensed Microsoft Software
07 August 2012
- ChannelAdvisor pays $150K in software settlement, by Lauren K. Ohnesorge
- "Morrisville-based ChannelAdvisor has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle claims that it had pirated software installed on its computer."
- "ChannelAdvisor had also agreed to delete from its computers all unlicensed software, to acquire any licenses necessary to be compliant and to take measures to ensure the situation won’t happen again."
- ChannelAdvisor pays $150,000 to settle software dispute, by WRAL Tech Wire
- "As a software vendor ourselves, we take licensing very seriously"
"ChannelAdvsior underwent a voluntary internal audit after BSA brought to our attention a potential shortfall in one of our software licenses."
"We found that we had acquired an insufficient number of licenses to support our recent growth."
The formal response from the Business Software Alliance was equally cut and dry:
- "ChannelAdvisor agreed to pay $150,000 to settle claims that it had unlicensed copies of Microsoft software installed on its computers. The company also agreed to delete from its computers all unlicensed software, acquire any licenses necessary to become fully compliant, and take measures to ensure its future compliance, one of the foundational principles of proper software asset management (SAM)."
Essentially a slap-on-the wrist, at least for a company that secured $20 million in funding and had "recent growth", because the penalties could have been much worse.
- Business Software Alliance: "Unauthorized file-sharing of copyrighted work consumes system resources and violates federal law. The liability and risk involved with using pirated software now reach far beyond copyright infringement, and its $150,000 penalties per violation. Pirated software can now result in Sarbanes-Oxley violations, which can mean millions in fines and as much as 20 years in prison for executives."
At this point you're asking, 'who is the Business Software Alliance', and why would anyone answer to them?
- "The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the voice of the world's software industry and its hardware partners on a wide range of business and policy affairs."
- "BSA is the largest and most international IT industry group, with policy, legal and/or educational programs in 80 countries."
BSA's members include notables Adobe, Apple, AVG, CA Technologies, Intel, Intuit, McAfee, Microsoft, Sybase, Symantec.
Or put another way, BSA's clout can be measured in the billions of dollars of corporate legal services their members can bring to bear.
How did extra unlicensed copies of Microsoft software get installed on secure computers without following, one presumes, a set-in-stone corporate procedure? We'll leave the reader and ChannelAdvisor to ponder that question.
As to how BSA found out about the unlicensed software? Anonymous tip.
The Business Software Alliance has a page for submitting tips:
With rewards for tips:
- "A reward may be payable only if BSA pursues an investigation and, as a direct result of the information provided by you, receives a monetary settlement from the reported organization. The amount you may receive is based on a sliding scale as outlined in the Terms and Conditions available on the BSA website."
According to BSA, a settlement paid by a company of $100,001 to $200,000 earns a potential reward of "Up to $10,000".
Not a bad reward for filling out an anonymous tip report.
"Tsk. Tsk. Tsk."
Fred Flintstone, The Flintstones: Fred's Second Car (8 January 1965)