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BSA Settles Lawsuit Against Nevada-Based Engineering Company for $205,000

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today announced that Taney Engineering, Inc. and Taney Cunningham Equipment, LLC of Henderson, Nevada, a joint civil engineering and land survey services company, settled a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Docket #C08-03132) alleging copyright infringement. BSA initially contacted the companies through its out-of-court audit program. When that proved unsuccessful, a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the defendants from making or distributing unauthorized copies of Autodesk software as well as an unspecified amount of damages and attorneys' fees in connection with the litigation, was filed on behalf of Autodesk, Inc., a BSA member company. The suit was filed on June 30, 2008 and settled in December.

The settlement of the lawsuit included the payment of damages to the BSA in the amount of $205,000, and an agreement wherein the defendant companies would delete all unlicensed copies of software installed on their computers, acquire any licenses necessary to become compliant, and commit to implementing stronger software license management practices. The $205,000 in damages paid to the BSA will be used among other things to implement educational awareness programs which will communicate the risks of utilizing unlicensed software to small and medium-sized businesses across the country.

BSA, on behalf of Autodesk, first contacted Taney Engineering after receiving information from a confidential source that the organization was allegedly using unauthorized copies of Autodesk software. BSA requested that Taney Engineering voluntarily perform an internal audit and provide those results to BSA for review. However, the results of the audit varied significantly from the data provided by the confidential source. Thus, the parties were unable to come to a resolution which ultimately resulted in the lawsuit. Taney Engineering was represented by Dallas-based law firm, Scott and Scott LLP. The Bay Area firm of Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP represented the BSA and Autodesk.

"Our audit program is designed to be cooperative and our first step is to work towards an amicable resolution. We contact companies and invite them to work with us through our audit program," said Jenny Blank, Senior Director of Legal Affairs. "When the audit process is successful, litigation is unnecessary. That is our goal. In this case however, the details of this particular investigation led us to litigation. We will continue to emphasize the fact that it is critical to cooperate with the BSA rather than risk litigation as a result of unlicensed software use."

Know it / Report it / Reward it

Under BSA's "Know it, Report it, Reward it" program, individuals who provide qualified reports of software piracy are eligible to receive up to $1 million in a cash reward. Despite BSA's national Rewards Program offering as much as $1,000,000 in cash for qualifying reports of software piracy, many do not opt for the reward. Informal studies conducted by BSA suggest that a key driver for reporting software piracy is the motivation to simply "do the right thing." In the case of the lawsuit against Taney Engineering, the confidential source passed up a cash reward.

In 2008 BSA conducted a study (www.bsa.org/statestudy) that revealed Nevada loses over $86M as a result of unauthorized software. It is estimated that the piracy rate in Nevada is currently 25%, one quarter above the national average of 20%. Lost revenues to a wider group of software distributors and service providers cost the state an additional $220 million, which for an economic comparison, could be used to hire more than 1,000 tech workers in Nevada. The lost state and local tax revenues in Nevada - $51 million - would have been enough to hire more than 430 experienced police officers. These are staggering local losses especially in light of the current economic climate.

Under US copyright laws, software piracy can result in fines of up to $150,000 for each software title copied. In addition, the government can criminally prosecute for copyright infringement. If convicted, violators can be fined up to $250,000 or given a jail term of up to five years, or both.

BSA works with businesses to help ensure that their company isn't at risk for financial, technical, and legal risks associated with illegal software. In addition to resources provided on www.bsa.org, BSA is working with the US Small Business Administration to help small businesses develop smart strategies to manage their software. Through the partnership, BSA will educate up to 100,000 small businesses on software licenses, copyright laws, tips on how to purchase safe and legal software online, and how to develop a Software Asset Management program.

Businesses trying to determine whether their organizations are using unlicensed software can download the free software audit tools at www.bsaaudit.com.

About BSA

The Business Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world's commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA programs foster technology innovation through education and policy initiatives that promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, Corel, CyberLink, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation, Embarcadero, McAfee, Microsoft, Minitab, Quark, Quest Software, Rosetta Stone, Siemens, Sybase, Symantec, and The MathWorks.

SOURCE Business Software Alliance

About PR Newswire
Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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