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5 things to do when you get a letter from the BSA

Dec 19, 2022

By: Sepideh Nassabi (Partner) - Trademark and Intellectual Property Group and with assistance from Hivda Ates (Student-at-Law)

Image: Sepideh Nassabi -  Litigation LawyerWho is the BSA? The Business Software Alliance (“BSA”) is the leading advocate for the global software industry and promotes legal software use. The BSA investigates reports of alleged use of unlicensed software. 

What to do if you receive a letter from the BSA? It is important to take the letter seriously and to respond in a timely manner. Here are 5 things you should do if you receive a demand letter from the BSA:

1. Read the letter

Read the letter carefully. The letter will include specific details about your alleged infringement. Also, pay attention to the deadline the BSA has given you to respond. Don’t miss this deadline.

2. Start working on the software audit

You will see from the letter that the BSA requires you to complete a software audit. Start working on that audit right away because it can be (and often is) time-consuming. Your audit should include information that needs to be accurate as of a certain date - usually the date of the initial letter from the BSA. Pay attention to this date. 

3. Respond to the demand letter

Regardless of whether or not the BSA’s allegations against you are correct, you will need to respond to the BSA. If you do not agree with the allegations, you should respond to the demand letter (in consultation with a lawyer) and explain why you believe the allegations are unfounded. 

4. Take steps to prevent future infringements

If you are found to have infringed copyright, you may be required to pay damages and to take steps to prevent future infringements. This may include removing any infringing software from your computer or network, or implementing policies and procedures to prevent future infringements. For example, you may want to implement a system for monitoring and tracking the use of software on your network, or provide routine training to your employees on the proper use of software. 

5. Consult with a lawyer

A lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations, and can provide advice on how to respond to the demand letter. An experienced lawyer in this field can facilitate a negotiated settlement to bring the matter to a speedy resolution. 

It is important to take these steps seriously to avoid further legal action. 

If you have questions regarding any communication from the BSA, or your trademark or intellectual property, or an infringement of your intellectual property rights, please contact Sepideh Nassabi, lawyer and registered trademark agent, at snassabi@mindengross.com

This article is intended to provide general information only and not legal advice. This information should not be acted upon without prior consultation with legal advisers.