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Do I need to look for a job?

By clwclark ·
I used to work for a software company that wrote a proprietary financial and clinical suite. I recently took a job as a network admin at a management company. They have alot of pirated software loaded on their computers and have asked me to continue the trend. They don't want to hear anything about copyright violations. Do I need to look for a different job?

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including infringer's profits

by maxwell edison In reply to proof of law and fines - ...

"...actual damages (including infringer's profits)..."

Do you realize what this means?

If a company earns 10 million dollars from using pirated software, the civil damages "could" include that $10,000,000.00

Another bottom line: The potential risk is simply not worth it.

Maxwell

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Document it

by stevendkane In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

As long as you create and date a document to your superiors informing them of the licensing issue your free and clear. As an IT dude all you can do is strongly suggest.

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Trace all Documents and Accountability

by XpertDragon In reply to Document it

License issues are serious business these days, and Microsoft especially is cracking down on companies that abuse licensing and copyright laws. I agree with Steve, in that you pretty much have to document that you are aware that a lot of licensed software is being stretched across the company with only a few accountable licenses.

Is Software licensing a part of your current job function? Are you responsible for getting quotes on Software packages from Microsoft retailers/distributors and other software companies?

If you are, you just may have to be very strict when it comes to purchasing future licensing. Get a proposal for your immediate supervisor, or whom ever you report to, and tell them it is going to cost such and such to obtain 10 licenses for all 10 machines the software is going to be installed on, and be firm, but fair about it. Expalin the benefits, and effective pricing in volume license purchases, and emphasis the legal severity of abusive practices.

I have the confidence you will get results, and respect for your efforts in cleaning this all up. I realize you can't go around cleaning up all illegal installs, though auditing packages could help you with this, and you will eventually replace a lot of pirated software with new upgrades or replacement software over time, or at least assure it is done that way.

Hang in there!

Paul M. Chavez

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Whistle Blowers...

by FluxIt In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

The way the software police work is that there is a group of lawyers that specialize in this area. Usually a someone becomes disgruntled and reports the company to this group known as the Software Police.

Once the lawyers assess the situation usually asking for some kind of proof, documentation or other credible information that the company is in violation, they send a threatening letter. In short, they offer to audit the company and settle out of court or they threaten to supeana the records and then go for disclosure after filing for court.

Also individual companies agressively pursue violations as well. Autodesk has been very active at this.

Your company is placing themselves at risk for a lawsuit and not managing this well. In part, software companies have also been inconsistent in thier efforts as well in order to get market share. Especially Microsoft who has a policy of allowing software to be installed at home and at work on the same license.

I once had a issue where a vendor was selling software with a $200 markup. I purchased a trail copy from another source and wrote a memo to file that it was a trail for 30 days. Then vendor came in and saw the copies installed on 30 machines and immediately reported us to the software police. They hit us with the saloon door swinging behind them and even had a vendor representive but had no leg to stand on. Since I had a sales contact at the company working with me on the trail.

In the end I bought 70 copies ofthe software and fired the vendor.

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What to do...

by FluxIt In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

Do not quit. Do this
1. Document each software package and version in use.
2. Document each installation.
3. Validate the type of license. ie per seat, site, or concurrent users.
4. Go to accounting, locate the invoices, and document what is on file.
5. Assess in your best estimate what is really needed to support operations.
6. Write a memo to the company and cc to file your findings.

Do not worry about fines or penalties as these are dependent on the judge, state, and local laws or what is negotiated between the lawyers.

You have no personal liability unless you are an officer of the company. The worst case is you become a scapegoat and are let go. Your memo to file is adequate cover for you and you may find that what you thought was a violation really was not. The exposure of the company is minor and can then be managed.

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Either Honest or Dishonest No inbetween

by maxwell edison In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

A company is no better than the people running it. (Can you say Enron?)

If the company is doing dishonest things, then the people running the company are really the dishonest ones. A person is either honest by nature or not. If someone will cheat a software vendor (i.e. the people running the software company), they've shown that they're capable of cheating anyone - including you and me. In addition, look at the software piracy laws. If a Network Administrator knowingly participates in software piracy, he/she could be held equally culpable.

I might suggest you put together a presentation for the company management showing all the implications and ramifications of software piracy. Not only are they running a huge financial risk, butalso the reputation of the company is at stake. The potential fine for illegally copying software is $100,000 AND 10 years in jail for EACH instance. Are they willing to put the company (and your future, by the way) in that kind of risk? Would they like to see a headline in the local newspaper that read, "ACME Management Company Settles for 1 Million Dollars in Software Piracy Scheme"? Would they like their customers to know that?

Do your presentation in nonjudgmental and professional manner. Show that your intentions are to look out for the company's best interest. Invite all the "major players". Cover all the bases. Use power point presentations, slides, handouts, whatever necessary to cover all the bases. Educate yourself thoroughly. Make some suggestions for viable solutions.

If I were in your shoes, and if they still refuse to comply, I'd respectfully resign.

Maxwell

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Fine Increased

by JDA-CPA In reply to Either Honest or Dishones ...

The fine was recently increased to $250,000 for each instance.

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did the software fall off a truck?

by ferocious In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

How many people went through that place before you because of those practices? Disgruntled employees can contact the business software alliance at www.bsa.org and shut them down. You are an accessory after the fact if they get audited, since you knew about it. If they can't shape up, you better ship out!

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IS managers have been held accountable

by maxwell edison In reply to Do I need to look for a j ...

http://www.isaca.org/prsofte.htm

"IS managers who fail to protect against software piracy have been held accountable by the SPA and are legally liable for damages, even if they were unaware of the acts of piracy."

"and are legally liable fordamages"
"and are legally liable for damages"
"and are legally liable for damages"
"and are legally liable for damages"
"and are legally liable for damages"

"Many business managers are unaware of the severe civil and criminal penalties that can be imposed on their organizations if employees are found to be illegally copying software or using software that was illegally copied elsewhere," said Patrick Stachtchenko, CISA, CA, international president of ISACA and partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Paris, France. "Their organizations could potentially be liable for significant monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

"monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

"monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

"monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

"monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

"monetary fines or jail time for convicted employees."

Maxwell

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