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Is the BSA "Grace Period" a Scam?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the examining-shady-practices dept.

United States 879

An anonymous reader asks: "I work at a small non-profit that has 18 employees plus a 13 seat computer lab. We received a form letter from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) telling us to do a self audit and if we find any unlicensed software to report it during our 'Grace Period' because 'if you organization's software is not licensed, it could become to focus of a BSA investigation'. Now this is obviously a method to scare up some business for the BSA members. If we ignore this, how likely is it that we will be 'investigated'. I know that I cannot produce the original CD's and/or documentation for some of the software that we HAVE paid for."

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no shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237202)

fuck you. i win.

Is the BSA "Grace Period" a Scam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237205)

Is the BSA "Grace Period" a Scam?!!! more like celda

America.. (2, Funny)

xo0bob0ox (600085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237207)

This is America! Your innocent until proven guilty! Hey Wait......

In Soviet BuShiA... (-1)

-1bynextweek (642604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237377)

YOU can expect this kind of thing to happen alllll the time.

Re:America.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237445)

Is this legal? They aren't a government body are they? So how can they Audit you? They don't have search warrants, and I figure *THEY* have to prove you did *NOT* pay for the software. ??

Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237210)

"it could become to focus of a BSA investigation"

it could become to what?

Lemmie get this straight... (4, Funny)

ajuda (124386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237216)

If you stole from them, and you admit it in the near future, they promise not to sue you. Yep, sounds like a scam to me.

Step 1: Promise not to sue people
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Profit!!!

YUO==TEH FUCKIN GAY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237258)

robble robble!

thanks for your mod point.

Re:Lemmie get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237265)

Step 2: Sue them anyway!

Re:Lemmie get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237322)

BSA = Bull Sh!t of America

Nuff said...

Has to be said (5, Funny)

stendec (582696) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237324)

knock knock

Who's there?

BSA: (mumbles)

Who?

BSA: Unicef.

Oh! Why didn't you say that before?

BSA-landshark attacks pirate who opens the door.

Huh? Why is everyone having trouble with this? (2, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237426)

Step 1: Promise not to sue people Step 2: ???? Step 3: Profit!!!

"Grace period" means they won't sue you if you come forward. It doesn't mean they'll let you continue to use pirated software; they just expect you to buy legitimate copies at this point. It's the same thing that the IRS does every few years. If you come forward they won't penalize you for not having filed your tax returns, but that doesn't mean you don't have to pay any back taxes.

Re:Lemmie get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237427)

Step 1: Promise not to sue people
Step 2: Sue people
Step 3: Profit!!!

Re:Lemmie get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237469)

Almost, but there isn't any step two.

Slashdot celebrates Negro Month: Sammy Davis Jr. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237218)

Sammy Davis Jr.

On November 19, 1954, the career of Sammy Davis Jr. almost came to a sudden and tragic close. While driving to Los Angeles to record the title tune of the Universal International picture "Six Bridges to Cross", Sammy was the victim of an automobile smash-up and narrowly escaped death. He was so seriously injured that his left eye had to be removed. In spite of the terrible shock, Sammy rallied and went on with his work; he even insisted that he was the "luckiest guy in the world".

Since his accident, Sammy's courageous spirit and ever-growing talent have won him increasingly enthusiastic audiences. Let's hear it for Sammy Davis Jr. !

Celebrate Negro Month 2003 with Slashdot.

Recieved the same thing... (5, Interesting)

Zephyre (111710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237236)

I used to work for a small computer repair shop in my town before I moved off to school. We recieved the same letter from the BSA, grace period and all. We completely disregarded it. If the BSA had looked closer at our small business, we definately would've been shut down. I can't see why the BSA would care about your non-profit organization.

Re:Recieved the same thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237486)

Zephyre's repair shop did the right thing -- which is to do nothing. (Thank their favorite deity!)

My understanding of the BSA scam is that if you speak to them or have any contact with them after they send you this letter, they go into full alert & audit your ass & charge you enough money to make your ancestor's weep. That is all. (What else is an organization composed entirely of lawyers going to do?)

--
Anyone else notice that the spokesperson for the MPAA is an attorney?

Working in Canada but not Rest of World (4, Informative)

use_compress (627082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237244)

from http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/9921.html [newsfactor.com] :
CAAST -- a nonprofit industry alliance group that counts among its members Adobe Systems, Apple Canada, Microsoft Canada, and Symantec -- said that one in every three business software applications in the country was pirated in 2000.

On a positive note, the report showed a four-year decline in the software piracy rate, dipping to 38 percent last year from 41 percent in 1999 and 40 percent in 1998.

"Although the piracy rate has decreased, software piracy continues to signify lost jobs, wages and tax revenues in Canada," said CAAST president Allan Steel. "Organizations need to realize the importance of implementing policies and procedures in order to achieve and maintain compliance."

The rest of the world, on the other hand, is not quite as obedient :
The BSA and CAAST studies, which were conducted by the independent International Planning & Research Corporation (IPR), also found that for the first time in six years, the world piracy rate increased, edging up to 37 percent in 2000.

How I *THINK* it works is... (2, Insightful)

Champaign (307086) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237247)

My understanding when I read about their organization some time ago is that this inital letter is basically a flag in the ground. They'll come for the audit, and basically say "prove that this was purchased before we sent you the first letter". Its to prevent someone from going out and buying all the software they use once they know they're going to be audited ("here's the single receipt for all 23 seats we bought yesterday").

If this is the case I don't think there's a whole lot you can do... Get ready to negotiate! :-)

uhmmmm (2, Insightful)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237286)

Isn't that what the "grace period" is all about?

Isn't it so you can rush out and buy licenses?

Hang on a minute... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237345)

...This is the BSA, in the UK, right?

So how exactly do they propose to check up on me anyway? On what legal basis can they force me to let them into my business to perform an "audit" to their satisfaction? Who the hell do these people think they are anyway?

This is just the usual scare-mongering. It's about time someone stood up to people like this and made them produce some evidence and go to court. Better yet, let them go after a legit company, and sue them for some form of defamation afterwards.

Re:Hang on a minute... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237453)

"On what legal basis can they force me to let them into my business to perform an "audit" to their satisfaction?"

I take it that you didn't read all those EULAs barfed out at you during the installs.

Re:Hang on a minute... (2, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237477)

And they know he has seen and agreed to those EULAs how? If they don't know for fact that he is using particular software, they can't very well use the fact that he might have clicked "I Agree" as grounds to force their way in the door. Besides, that's what really big mean dogs are for.

Re:How I *THINK* it works is... (5, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237470)

And that's when I tell them "prove I didn't". The burden of proof is on them. The only organization in the US that this DOES NOT apply to is the IRS. The BSA only has as much power as you give them. Has anyone else seen the page on their web site where you can rat your employer/friend/etc. It has a picture of some idiot with an evil *I stuck it to da man* smirk on his face and the whole bit. Gimme a break.

The many shortcomings of Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237248)

The many Linux shortcomings.

Before everyone gets upset, please follow me as I outline some of the critical shortcomings in Linux. First is the lack of re-entrant kernel threads. The net affect of this is a poor execution of both multi-tasking on uniprocessor systems and multi-processor systems. In a uniprocessor system the lack of reentrant kernel threads allows applications to control processor time. This cooperative multitasking is ineffecient, and systems intensive. In a multiprocessor box you wind up with an asynchronous multitaksing environment, where processor load is not balanced across the two or more processors. The net result in both situations is that processes take longer to execute. Needless to say, Windows excels at all of these.

The next is poor execution of asynchronous I/O, which is necessary for efficient communications. In fact, the execution of asynchronous I/O in Linux is quite poor, especially when compared to Windows. When subjected to the Transaction Processing Council's C and D tests, which measure transactions per minute, Linux fares poorly compared to commercial variants of Unix, BSD, and NT. The net result of this is an increased cost of ownership, as the cost of each transaction is much higher than the cost associated with Windows NT.

Another serious setback for Linux is the lack of a journalling file system. This makes data storage unreliable, and backup and recovery a dicey proposition. SGI said they would port the IRIX file system to Linux, but I haven't heard anything about this yet. However, when you look at the major commercial NOS's, they all have journalling file systems, including Sun, SCO, Windows NT, Banyan Vines, HP/UX, AIX, and Novell. Windows has cleary beaten Linux to the punch here.

I look forward to watching Linux as it grows up. I do believe it may have a bright future. It just isn't there yet! Too bad I will have to wait many years for Linux to become a viable option in the operating system arena. If I were to believe everything I read about Linux, I would have to assume that it will save the world! Please, let us also be honest and present Linux and all its many shortcomings when you are downtalking Windows.

Troll 40 of 208 from the annals of the Troll Library [slashdot.org] .

Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (2, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237252)

Why do you not have the original licensing documentation for your lab? This is the most important thing for a computer lab administrator to take care of. If something goes wrong with one computer, do you have documentation that shows that you are legally permitted to transfer the software from one computer to another? If not, then you're asking for trouble.

Let this be a lesson to you. Get a box that holds all your licenses. It's really that easy.

Re:Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (2, Insightful)

JonnyO (119156) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237416)

To not retain the manuals and receipts of your software may hurt you when you want support, but since when was that legal grounds for prosecution? Do you have the receipts for every single thing you own? Suppose you buy a suit from a department store, and, two years down the road, a store employee sees you at a formal gathering and tries to demand proof of ownership of the suit. According to your logic, if you don't cough up the receipt for the suit (and if suits were bought like software, the invoice from your tailor for making alterations) you're as good as guilty.

My company received one of these letters last year from Microsoft. We ignored it and they ignored us. I imagine this works like OSHA, in that someone can make a complaint against you but if they won't sign off on the complaint and back it up with proof, the government won't waste their time.

Re:Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237431)

You own the suit. You do not own the software.

Re:Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (2, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237433)

Let this be a lesson to you. Get a box that holds all your licenses. It's really that easy.

I use a Commodore VIC-20 for this purpose. It has just enough memory to hold that file named "COPYING".

Re:Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237454)

Yeah, thats real easy if you have a guy who takes care of the lab. But in small orginizations things arn't as organized.

Things happen like using the same serial on all the machines (even though you own the licenses). Different sets of licenses get put in different spots (depending on who is it for or who ordered it), especially if it spans many years.

Re:Non-profit does not mean unprofessional (3, Informative)

lendude (620139) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237475)

Whilst the essence of your statement is true - the retention of all relevant documentation is professional practice - the author may have been faced with the situation where he inherited a setup where poor record keeping was the norm. I faced a similar situation at a small company a while back, were the BSA sent said letter soon after my employment. I raised the issue with the boss, along with informing him of the rather paltry record keeping history prior to my starting (Things like a few OEM pcs with preinstalled Windows98 SE, small software packages etc, but no media or license retention). Although we did have the invoices detailing what was purchased, it was deemed insufficient by the BSA as proof of license compliance requirements, so to avoid drama and expidite the process,the various software was purchased again. I often wondered if I could have gone to MS about the W98 SE issue and seen what may have been possible - i.e. whether the particular details (we had the invoices and obviously the reg numbers from the pc itself) were enough in themselves to confirm we 'had' a license?

Google news... (4, Insightful)

killthiskid (197397) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237254)

A Google new search [google.com] reveals all sorts of interesting articles, including some cases where people were [itnews.com.au] busted [dailytimes.com.pk] .

And this little gem: [212.100.234.54]

The group said that last week's new piracy-fighting proposal from the European Commission is "inadequate in view of the magnitude of the piracy problem and fails to introduce urgently needed measures to hold back the epidemic of counterfeiting." The group claims that in Europe, film, video, music, business and leisure software industries alone suffer losses in excess of EUR4.5 billion annually due to piracy.

The people who were busted... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237393)

...actually installed illegally pirated software, though. Show me a case where a group with genuinely bought software but a couple of misplaced certificates was successfully sued?

Low Key (4, Funny)

thedbp (443047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237257)

y'know, if you're trying to keep your warez on the down low, its not a good idea to post a slashdot story about it.

Required to produce documentation? (5, Insightful)

assaultriflesforfree (635986) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237260)

Perhaps some pertinent questions:
Supposing the BSA does perform an investigation, I'm wondering what the actual legal procedures are.
Are you required to maintain documentation of every last opened piece of software? I know at the CIT department I worked in for school, we had Windows 95 manuals stacked up in storerooms, even though there was a school wide license. I don't know if this is required though.
Furthermore, what happens if they find you're missing a couple documents, and decide to take you to court. Is any jury going to decide, based on either a "preponderance of the evidence" or "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that this software was obtained and/or used illegally?
Any legal experts out there?

I'm not a lawyer, (5, Interesting)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237262)

but as far as I know, a trade group like that cannot demand access to your computers, or your facilities. The BSA has no power to force any sort of audit of your licenses. We have old computers at work, and might not be able to locate proof that we paid for some of this stuff years ago. I manage the computers there, and if the BSA ever contacts me demanding an audit they'll be told to choke on it.

If it's somewhere in a license they can show we bought, that we have to allow access to the installed software, then for every license they can show, I can provide an adequate installation.

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (5, Informative)

gmerideth (107286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237294)

Microsoft is part of the BSA and in their agreement they can damm well do this. Still didn't stop me from ignoring it.

As my lawyer told me, replying to it simply gives them a name and address to send more correspondance to.

So I threw mine away.

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237375)

Microsoft is part of the BSA and in their agreement they can damm well do this.

Really? Show me the test case. EULAs are, to date, a pretty untested legal minefield anyway. Certain terms are widely expected to be found illegal under the relevant jurisdictions, however, and at the last count this was one of them. But you never know until that test case...

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237316)

Uuuuh, I think you agree to their terms when you agree to the license. I've seen the residual of two BSA audits. They get what they want.

$250,000
$15,000

These occurred in both cases, before my arrival (Thank God) but they were both taken seriously and full payment was made.

Perhaps THE single-most-greatest case for open source software. The BSA IS the law!

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (3, Informative)

CBravo (35450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237344)

however, if they have a witness that says the organisation has illegal software they'll get a court order.

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237414)

however, if they have a witness that says the organisation has illegal software they'll get a court order.

That's nice. What are they going to do then?

Re:I'm not a lawyer, (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237353)

So long as they can find one (disgrunted former) employee willing to testify under oath that the you have unlicensed software, they can make you do the audit at your own expense.

"Beyond a reasonable doubt" is only for criminal charges, for a civil case they only need to be able to prove their side better than you can prove yours. One fired loser is a weak hand, but it still beats a zero...

yeah (1)

theflea (585612) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237268)

If the BSA were that honorable, they wouldn't be chasing after nonprofits and cash-strapped school districts. They'll always pick on the people least able to defend themselves. That of course makes them bullies. As for what to do? Other people can probably answer that better.

Ignore it (5, Insightful)

Leme (303299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237269)

It's a lot like those DirecTV letters that were going out to people who had bought programmers or emulators. They wanted you to call them and confess, because once you did that, they got you.

Since they are wanting you to perform a self audit and report any installs you can't find the correct documentation for, it's the same situation. Just an attempt for them to drum up some money for the BSA members.

We received that same letter about a year ago and I chose to ignore it, so far no one has followed up on it.

Now, if you get a certified letter from them, then I would take it more seriously, but just a bit more :-)

What investigative powers/authority do they have? (5, Informative)

citog (206365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237272)

I checked their About [bsa.org] page and found the following statement:

Promoting a safe and legal online world

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal online world.

We are the voice of the world's software, hardware and Internet sectors before governments and with consumers in the international marketplace. BSA members represent the fastest growing industries in the world.

BSA educates computer users on software copyrights and cyber security; advocates public policy that fosters innovation and expands trade opportunities; and fights software piracy.


Nothing in there suggests any legal authority. They are advocates not enforcers. Those letters strike me as very misleading. Anyone want to post a copy?

Re:What investigative powers/authority do they hav (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237443)

They have whatever authority you agreed to when you clicked through that license agreement. You _did_ read that thing, right?

Sample Letter (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237505)

Here is the letter we got, mispellings are mine, formatting isn't perfect:

BSA, 1150 18th Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036

Is your business using unlicensed software? If so, the Business Software Alliance is offering a one-month opportunity to get licensed. Your BSD Grace Period Participation ########

January 22, 2002

MY ADDRESS

Dear FOO,

You may have heard that the Business Software Alliance is investigating ANYTOWN area organizations that use unlicensed software. If your organization's software is not licensed, it could become the focus of a BSA investigation. So, audit your software now. Unauthorized copying is the same as stealing. The penalties for copyright infringement are serious - sometimes totaling hundres of thousands of dollars - and in this economy, can your business affort that risk?

BSA is an association representing the leading software companies: Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bently Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, FileMaker, Internet Security Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symatec. Together with our memebers, we educate the public about software compliance and protect intellectual property rights.

Would you be able to tell if an employee had installed an unlicensed software program? Your business has until February 28 to get licensed.

BSA recognizes that, for whatever reason, your company may not have managed its software assets properly. That's why from February 1-28, BSA is offering a Software Grace Period to business like yours in ANYTOWN. Please take this time to review your software installations and usage and, if necessary, acquire the licenses your business needs. If, after you have participated in the Grace Period, your organization becomes the focus of a BSA investigation, BSA will not seek to impose penalties for any unauthorized copying that occurred before February 28, (unless your organization has already been informed that it is under investigation). If BSA contacts you, just show your Grace Period Participation Nuber and the software purchase receipts. [Please see the reverse for terms.]

Not sure if your organization is fully licensed? BSA can help you find out.

Visit our Web site at www.bsagrace.com for more information and to download the free Software Audit Tool, or call our special Grace hotline at 1-877-536-4BSA (1-877-536-4272). If you find that your business isn't 100% licensed, contact your software vendor immediately and buy the software licenses you need before the Grace Period ends on February 28.

Sincerely,

Bob Kruger, Vice President, Business Software Alliance

Grace Period Participation Terms

Bsd is offering a one-month Grace Period between February 1-28, 2003.

1. For your organization to qualify for the Grace Period campaign:

  • it must obtain a Grace Period Participation Number either through receipt of a BSA letter or from the Grace Period Web site - www.bsagrace.com;
  • its headquarters must be located within the following zip code: ANYTOWN 99999
  • it must not have previously received notice that the BSA or its members (listed below) have received a report of infringement and are investigating it; and
  • prior to, or during the Software Grace Period (February 1-28, 2002), it must have acquired sufficient software licenses to ensure that all software published by BSA members installed on its computers is properly licensed.

2. If, after you have participated in the Grace Period, your organization becomes the focus of a BSA investigation, BSA will not seek to impose penalties for any unauthorized copying that occurred prior to February 28, 2002 (unless your organization has already been informed that it is under investigation). If the BSA should contact you, just show your Software Grace Period Participation Number and software purchase receipts.

3. For the purpose of the Grace Period, BSD members are: Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bently Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, FileMaker, Internet Security Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symatec.

Did you register your software recently? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237274)

We got one of these...

They called a 'truce' in our town of 500. We are a 2 employee show, run from a basement.

We bought a bunch of stuff, but never sent in the registration cards. We registered some stuff back in '97-'98 probably, and nothing since. We haven't gone out of business, so they figure we're probably pirating something. We are not, but since we haven't registered anything in a while (Microsoft Tech support is sooo valuable!), and are continually considering the move to Linux (just a matter of time...) we come up in their database as a possible pirate. Oh the miracles of databases!

All we did was make a file of receipts and certificates, and they can wade through it if they come a knockin. We're sure it's all there, and we can hopefully sue if they end up siezing a computer, especially since we are legal.

We had to look real hard for the licenses, but we found them. The certificates are useless without a receipt.

Periods (-1, Offtopic)

OwlofCreamCheese (645015) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237275)

Periods are never graceful... just look at my girlfriend....

They can't do much (1, Insightful)

mfos.org (471768) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237276)

They can't investigate you, they have no police powers what so ever. They can only initiate an investigation if they have sufficent evidence of a crime being commited. Tell them to take there scare tactics and shove them up their ass, where they keep their wads and wads of cash warm.

Rest assured that you aren't the only ones in this boat.

Ignore it, it's more like SPAM that a real letter! (5, Interesting)

Dave21212 (256924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237278)

I work in an enterprise environment. Last year, I registered for one of those free magazine subs and a few weeks later... viola, a letter from the BSA using the same name/address pair.

The BSA must be getting names from those lousy online surveys (company size, whats your position, how much software will you be buying in 6,12,24 months).

Sounds more like SPAM to me !

Re:Ignore it, it's more like SPAM that a real lett (5, Interesting)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237309)

I think you are correct in that they just get a bunch a mail lists and start firing off the letters. We started getting these letters when my wife passed the bar.

How stupid IS the BSA? (2, Funny)

scrote-ma-hote (547370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237346)

How clever is that??? Send out threatening letters to all of the fresh law graduates! What's one market in the US that you don't want upset with you? Lawyers you say? Duh.

Re:Ignore it, it's more like SPAM that a real lett (1)

spazoid12 (525450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237438)

There's something so heart-warming about stuffing these types of people with disinformation.

What the parent says gives me yet another reason to fill out every single business reply card that I can with bogus krunk and send it back.

BSA (3, Interesting)

Agent_Eight (237857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237279)

I got the same form letter about a week ago. I'm just a student so I'm not really sure why I got sent one. I do have all the receits for the software I use. After reading it several times, I'm just assuming it's a scare tactic to drum up sales.

I think the only question that went through my head was what if any legal power would the BSA actually have if they did decide to audit me. Seeing as I don't own a company ...

Don't you have lawyers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237285)

You must have some sort of legal counsel advising your non-profit. Ask him (or her) to request a preliminary injunction against the BSA to prevent them from disrupting your business.

One particular experience... (5, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237289)

Some one wrote this the last time the BSA came up on Slashdot- sorry, I saved the quote but not the poster. The conventional wisdom thus far from other posters seems to be 'ignore it,' but if it goes further, consider this:


I know someone that was audited by the BSA and decided to fight it. Basically they countered by stating they wanted full disclosure of who reported them so as to determine the validity of the claim prior to wasting internal resources and dollars. They also argued that the reporting tools are a violation of privacy. Yes, they expected them to place some software on their network which scans their entire network not to mention each machine's registry. Third, they also argued that even if they were in violation of license, the license is between them and the vendor (after all, the license does not allow for the BSA as having legal proxy interests) and unless the vendor in questions decides that they'd like to personally persue the issue, the BSA does not have legal authority or the legal grounds to persue the action. Furthermore, they argued that even if something odd was discovered and they lost, only the government has the right to impose fines on legal matters as such and they would be within their legal rights to simply purchase any outstanding licenses or settle directly with the vendor in question and completely dismiss the BSA altogether thereby eliminating the need to pay any fines or added fees.

Last I heard, even though two ex-employees had turned them in, the BSA simply walked from the issue as, from what I gathered, they really don't have a legal leg to stand on.

Re:One particular experience... (4, Insightful)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237420)

"Yes, they expected them to place some software on their network which scans their entire network not to mention each machine's registry."

I'm curious to know if the registry scanner has the capability to differentiate between actively installed software and previously installed software that failed to correctly uninstall itself? My guess is no.

Knock, Knock... who's there? (0, Redundant)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237291)

Honestly, I don't think the BSA, without some credible insider information, or digging through your garbage, has any right to come barging in. I have yet to hear of them actually doing so. For the most part businesses and organizations voluntarily grant them admitance. As it proves to be a nuisance, in the case of Arlington, VA etc. Who in their right mind would allow these clowns in, to interfer with business and potentially find software which no license can be found for? (Not that it could be proven it wasn't bought at one time.)

If I'm clean, and I know it, I'd blow them off.

its not a scam.... (5, Informative)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237292)

A scam, probably not. Is it smart, also probably not. Im in the chicagoland area and have been hearing the commercials for BSA on the radio everywhere across the dial. What they are aiming for is to get people turned in by relying on an unhappy employee to rat them out.

That being said, keep in mind that the BSA is just an organization set up to find pirated software and collect fees. Fees that they no doubt get a cut of. They seem to have no problem using peoples fear and turning it into the driving force of their biz.

You are under NO obligation to report anything to them, unless they hand you a court order. They are an independent entity and have no more ability to legally inspect your systems than I would. so it would be in their best interest to make it seem that they do have that ability

This seems to be a page right out of the RIAA playbook, pretend something is true and youll fool at least some of the people

You can fool some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time

More Confusion... (5, Funny)

Smelly Jeffrey (583520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237293)

I got confused when I read about the BSA and software. I was wondering what the Boy Scouts of America had to do with is. My best advice: Be Prepared.

Re:More Confusion... (2, Funny)

EverDense (575518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237466)

Yeah, I breathed a sigh of relief when I realised that it wasn't a biker gang. Kicking in doors, looking for owners of Japanese motorbikes.

Birmingham Small Arms Motorcyles [btinternet.com]

Go to accounting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237302)

"I know that I cannot produce the original CD's and/or documentation for some of the software that we HAVE paid for"

Don't you keep receipts/use CC's? Unless you bought the software with cash at a street corner, there is a record that you purchased it.

that sucks man, M$ must be behind it (1)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237303)

then YOU MUST BE AN OSS TERRORIST!!!

I wouldn't be surprised if that company is owned by M$ or some other bigass company.

I considered sending bills to spammers that used my bandwidth without permission. None of them paid.

I suggest that if you do anything as a responce, it should be to send them a bill for your wasted time. Call them on their hypocricy and do the rest of us a favor.

BTW, if I get get one email about this shit I'll raise some hell and subscribe some people to some mailing lists.

Re:that sucks man, M$ must be behind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237439)

hmm...i first read that as ASS terrorist. Whoops.

Re:that sucks man, M$ must be behind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237499)

I considered sending bills to spammers that used my bandwidth without permission. None of them paid.

Yeah, it's funny how people don't react to things that you only consider.

Software Licensing In General is a Scam (1)

mfdii (228630) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237306)

Corporate Software Licensing In General is a Scam. Wouldn't you say? And thus, the goons who enforce these licenses are a scam.

BSA & Microsoft "oh my!" (1)

Halvard (102061) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237313)

I've received letters from both 2x in the last week. No, we don't pirate software. No, I'm not going to respond to them, although I've got half a mind to have my attorney to send them a "friendly" letter telling them to lay off the heavy handed mafia like tactics (this is my opinion of the tenor of the letter). We provide a myriad of services to clients and our clients have been receiving these letters too.

Having been around for quite a few IT generations, I've seen these before but they still get me going. I'm still going to ignore them. IANAL. Despite wanting to come unglued at them for the way I feel that they portray things, I'm holding my tongue.

For what it is worth, the MS letters are far friendlier than the BSA letter. The BSA letter is very pointed.

The Boy Scouts? (0)

thoolie (442789) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237317)

"BSA "Grace Period" a Scam"

I didn't relize that the Boy Scouts of America had a grace period? Ohhhh, those bastards..............Just wait till I get homeland securty on your ass......oh they will be worry.........

Shakedown (3, Insightful)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237323)

The proper term is shakedown [reference.com] . The idea is to rattle the cages of people in the hopes that they will cough up money.

--Mike--

Switch to open source if you can. (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237327)

It depends on what you're doing of course, but if I were in your position I would be taking a very hard look at Linux or freebsd right now.

Scare tactics (2, Informative)

camt (162536) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237331)

When we get the same letter (each and every year) we promptly throw it out. The first time we got one we asked our corporate lawyer what rights they have. If they do decide to come to your door, simply kindly turn them away. They can only "audit" your premisis with the help of a warrant from the US Marshals. Note that if you do turn them away, they very well might come back with said warrant. YMMV.

-- Cameron

We're not lawyers; but, (2, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237332)

It seems to me that the big winners, once again, are the lawyers that represent the small companies and non-profits alike. Even if a company does disregard the letter, it would seem a prudent move to investigate the matter more closely by bringing such material to your company's lawyer.

While the BSA does not directly say that you will be sued, you *could* be sued by the company whose software they are looking for. IANAL, but to say that the BSA is going to sue you is a threat that is illegal in the US if the entity does not have legal grounds on which to sue - in your company's sake, proof of no licenses. Entities, whether corporate or personal, can not go around saying they're going to sue and not sue, either; that's a method of blackmail, I would think.

I think that the BSA just tries to use FUD to make money. They scare some company into letting them in their doors and then its game-time! They've got you.

Keep them outdoors and tell them to pack sand - or toss the letter out.

In the mean time, I'd do some damage control and find those licenses, just in case.

The "grace period" isn't a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237336)

It's just another name for the "linux install period".

How to Masturbate For Large Women (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237338)

If your like me, then masturbation can be a bit hard. I am not a small woman. I am 4'11 and nearly 200pounds. I have short stubby fingers, due to my size. My large sized breasts seem too get in the way. Unlike a skinnier woman, it is harder for me to reach inside my vagina cavity. Unless I am in some ackward postion, I couldn't get more than a finger tip in there. I am writting the guide in my opionion of a better way to masturbate for large woman.

STEP ONE

Always wash your hands before doing anything down there. The risk of infection is great, and it's better to be safe than sorry. Also if you have nails trim them. I have had a bad exsperiece with nails. I was masturbating and didn't realsize it hurt until afterward. When so much adlrenilin is running through you, you would be amazed at your thresh hold for pain.

STEP TWO

Toys, Toys, Toys. I can't say this enough, toys for a bigger woman is a must. For one instead of having to bend in all sorts of unconfortable postions it makes it easier. The toys can be as thin as a finger, or as large as a man's penis. It doesn't matter. I particulary like a toy my fiancee gave me. A set of knumbchucks. Now your probally laughing now, thinking "A set of knumbchucks, she has got to be kidding." Let me exsplain, the knumbchucks are acrilic, so they are strong, and won't break off when placed into sensitive areas. If you don't know what a pair of knumbchucks are I will exsplain. They look like a pair of long, smooth, handles, connected by a chain, or rope. Most are rounded at the tips. I like this toy best, because the chain and second handle allow me to lie back, yet be able to move the handle inside me. By moving my hand in different positions on the second handle, I can cause alot of different effects. I can even thrust it into myself, as a man's penis would.

STEP THREE

Take care of your toys! Clean them, after and before use. Don't use harsh chemicals like bleach, or rubbing alchohol. These can not only cause damage to the toy, but alot of damage to you. I recomend a mild disanfectant First rubbing a large lather in your hands, then running it up and down the toy, making sure to get every crevase. Wash thourly. You don't want a infection, just because you didn't get all the disenfectant off your toy. Besides exsplaining how you got the infection to your doctor will be very embaresing. If your toy does not come in a container, or the container is not suitable. Use large ziplock, freezer bags. Don't use a trash bag, even though they may seem the come clean in the box, they really aren't.

STEP FOUR

If you don't have a toy, and want one, buy it at a local store. If you can't make sure to check out the sites on the internet FULLY. Ask around, find out if there products are safe, and good quality. Do they take paypal? Or do they ask for your credit card number? Are there satified costomers that you can talk to? I have had the unpleasent misdealing of being riped off, when I orderd form a ceritan site. They sent me something compleletly different, and lower than what I had payed.

STEP FIVE

Lube is YOUR friend. You can never use too much, and if your worrying about dripping, and stains, place a towel underneath you. You can use Ky jelly, but I don't like that for masturbation, because it dries to quickly. You can use oil, because there is no use for a condom, however some people, and toys have difficulties with oil. I have three sets of water based lube, that have different tastes, and smells. I got them at a local snyders.

Now, that I have coverd the basics, lets get into physically masturbating.

What I like to do, is first take off all my clothes. They just get in the way. I like to chose a private, yet comfortable place. Generally my bedroom floor, or bed. Use pillows, to prop your head, and shoulders. I have heard of lieing your hips on a pillow, so that you are able to reach easier. This may work for some, but not me. It seems just to make things harder. I like to have some soft music playing, even though I don't listen to it.
I prop two, or three pillows, next to the wall. I don't like headboards or frames, but you get the idea. I set beside me my lube, and toy. I lie down, on my back on the pillows, my shoulders supported as well. I start by breathing deeply, and relaxing. I then start to fantasize about certian men, or woman. Thinking about what I would like to do to them, or have done to me. I start to rub my nipples. I use my finger tips to circle around, until they are a bit hard. I softy squeeze. I pull my knees up, and push them out. As my fanstasy goes deeper, I open the lube, and place a small amount on my fingertips.
I use to fingers to softly circle my clit. I have found that tapping softly with the tip of my finger has worked as well. I don't insert the toy, until I have felt a few tingles of pleasure. Why because if you insert it too quick you may "Stunt" your orgasm. By this I mean it will take longer to orgasm, or you will confuse your body, and not orgasm at all.
After I insert the toy, I push softly on the second handle. I can now chose to leave the toy, and play with my breasts, or continue pushing gently. I feel the waves as they pass through my body. I constrict my muscles around the toy, as a wave hits. If you like longer sesions you can chose to just let the waves pass. I find it more intense to use my muscles when a tingle urges me.
I use the second handle to pump in, and out of my vagina. Not letting the first handle come all the way out. My fingers cricles a bit harder, and a bit faster on my clit. It helps to be shaved, so that you don't end up twisting your hairs. Well, unless you like that kind of pain. I feel a much harder wave pass through me, I clench my muscles, and with the second handle force the toy deep inside. I moan loudly.
I have found that moaning actually helps with masturbating, it sounds like you have some one there listening. It inhances your fantasy. The waves continue, until I am pumping the toy in, and out as fast as I can. Using the second handle, to push the first, inside my vagina. My fingers relentlessly circling my clit. I orgasm, and let out a long sigh, and lie there for a few minnuets.

I find this method better than, bending in ackwards ways. I have heard of kneeling, on all fours, but as I say I am a bigger girl, and it still prevents my fingers from going where they want to. Also it can get tirering to kneel, with one hand holding you up. And I don't think I having my face in the bed, or pillows, while using both my hands is comforting. Unless you prefer asphixiation while masturbating.

Don't be ashamed, of masturbating I have a fiancee, and I still do it. Even though we have sex on a regular basis. It's perfectly heathly.

We've had this discussion before and... (3, Interesting)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237343)

... disregarding the obvious problems I have with the BSA which other are sure to point out (and that I have ranted about before) legality, authority and such. It seems very odd to me that anyone should have to PROVE they bought something. CompUSA pulls the same shit when your walking out of the store, I get pretty irate and being stopped and having my purchases searched at the door, especially when I took only TEN STEPS from the register. But that's a little more understandable than the BSA's tactics, after all if I'm in the store with no receipt it's more likely that I didn't just lose it (though it is possible). When you buy site licenses I can imagine you have to show that you have a valid license, as far as proving you didn't buy it after the letter was sent, they can fuck off. If your legal now there's nothing they can do. But what about off the shelf purchases? What about backup copies (allowed by law) that were kept in a firesafe when the originals were destroyed. Like someone commented earlier, you are innocent until proven guilty, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Hell I'd demand a jury of my peers.

Re:We've had this discussion before and... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237356)

You should keep the originals in the firesafe and put the copies in the public binders. Not the other way around.

How likely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237357)

These letters are sales pitches. However, with that said, if you can prove due diligence that you attempted to acquire all your warez^H^H^H^H^Hsoftware legally, no court would convict you. The fish they're trying to fry are the "one copy on all the machines" types.

hmm (1)

hfastedge (542013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237358)

Where software pirating really eats away at profits is in corporate and educational institutions.

The poster's experience describes *the* sole interface between an authority and the potentially law-breaking organization. This IS the only place the information gets exchanged.

The poster is doing a simple risk assessment. Now, these are fine for life and death matters like war eg "force depletion assessment" (thanks west wing), or for business risks. But this is a risk with the law, and history shows us that it is not worth discussing.

All information to actually answer the posters comment would either go into making him feel ok with his illegal risk, or give him ideas on how best to avoid getting caught.

So....I dont think that the BSA simply asking some random,relatively senior member of an organization is effective at all. I don't think that something this routine is worth any human's time. I do think that we have to engineer ourselves out of the loop here (thats one of the basic things we do as programmers).

But, when envisioning a model of how we could engineer ourselves out of the loop, the idea of trusted computing comes to mind.

Suppose the process is automated. Well, as corporations serve their master (the dollar), it might be more justified to fake that your corporation is running legal software (however that might be for all non-spyware microsoft stuff...) although this brings up the idea (how the heck does the BSA actually invesitigate for non-spyware produces (maybe answering this will satisfy the poster)).

But, the easiest way to solve this problem is "trusted computing".eg devise an untamperable way to record certain data on a device connected the computer and to the net (eg write only without capability of deleting). Make a standard for this, and get all software vendors that care to implement their software to make use of this.

Yeah, I realize that this is going to ruffle a lot of feathers as it seems that everyone is freedom-for-the-sake-of-freedom here. But I am simply presenting a pretty ruff and pretty good solution to how to engineer ourselves out of the loop here.

Me and the Boys (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237359)

"Me and the boys would really hate for something to happen. We can sell you insurance to prevent, say, that vase that Frankie is leaning against from getting broken. Oops, like that."

Actually, this campaign was going on two years ago. In the fall, I think. Same scam.

Quick fix in a tight situtation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237362)

Reminder to self: Keep magnet with in close proximity to computer for emergency use.

BSA letter may be a legal trap! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237367)

Quote from an interview with Bruce Perens by Joe Barr:

"What is happening is that through various legal "gotcha's" that are incorporated in the EULA, or in things that are deceptively sent to companies, [the BSA] are getting a company to waive a legal right: the right to privacy.

"They send you a postcard and ask you if you want to know about licensing. If anyone in your company signs it and returns it, it actually gives them authority to come in and audit your company. I don't have direct experience with it, and if you go look into the press on BSA you will find out about this one. They target low-level employees in your company, and it sounds on the postcard like it's a seminar on software licensing. But if someone checks "Yes, I'm interested", then somewhere in the fine print it's actually an invitation to come and audit the software licensing for the company."


http://www.linuxworld.com/2003/0117.barr.html [linuxworld.com]

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237368)

Look, the letter is scary, but everyone in any buisness gets it. Unless you get another nasty letter or have vengeful ex-employees, disregard it. Even I got one. They just send it out to the area they're investigating to turn up anyone they can without any real work.

Maybe not scam, more like racketeering. (4, Interesting)

nyet (19118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237373)

Would be nice to crucify the BSA with the RICO Act under the "conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs, through a patter of racketeering activity" section, for misrepresenting the legal system for the express purpose of intimidation.

Nailing them for mail fraud would be nice too, if you can find them deliberately transmitting false statements.

They are scum only out to extort a buck.

Ignore Them! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237384)

Well first off we received a phone call from them after we first ignored the three letters they sent us. Then we basicaly said okay sure sure sure to them on the phone, have a nice day- Click. Then we ignored them some more, and that was 2 years ago and we have not heard back from them.

Of course you should be paying for the software, and if you do not have the licenses I suggest you get this resolved. A receipt should be sufficient enough to track down when/where the software was bought. You have 20 computers, and a receipt for 20 copies of MS-Office..well guess what, no lawyer in their right mind would go to a judge with this. Do not tell me you have no receipts for the software,, what kind of mickey mouse outfit are you working for? The IRS is going to be your next problem!

So in the long run I would just ignore them. Go ahead and do an internal audit of which you lose the documentation, then I would start buying software in a one and two a month type scenario. Nothing to break the bank.

In any case DO NOT LET THEM COME DO AN AUDIT! They have no right to enter your buisness, and they will not do this without a court order. And if they have a court order your lawyers can fight this easily. It is impossible for them to prove they have a shread of proof, and anything that an disgruntal ex-employee has said is hearsay.

We think the reason they contacted us is because an ex-employee wanted a raise since he just graduated a CCNA course and was Cisco certified (I find this amuzing since he took a class for 2 years on the CCNA test which has a book of less then 500 pages), problem is that it was not his job to work with Cisco equipment and we have no positions available for him. Since he was an asshole and demanded a raise we fired him, so we think he called the BSA and said we were illegal for Adobe software because the software cabinet the IT department has only has 2 copies of the Adobe Acrobat software, what the moron does not know is that we have 15 copies of it in different departments maintained by that department since it is specialized software and only a few people get (The IT department maintains a copy of the license and screen prints, also copies of the receipts are filed in the IT office which he would not know about since he was a tech, and shitty one at that!). It is installed currently on about 10 peoples computers.

Ignore it ... (1)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237388)

The BSA isn't a government body. If the BSA asks you to do a self-audit, or they'll come audit you, just ignore it, or plead dumb. They're hoping that you're going to come forward and get your software licensed. If you have a small, non-profit company, you're not going to have to worry about the BSA coming to you to do an audit. They don't have the manpower. If the BSA does happen to show up at your company, unless they have a WARRANT, they don't have the right to audit anything.

In other words, yes. It IS a scam.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237391)

I'm sorry but if you're in a business you should be keeping your receits for tax purposes anyway that's enough to proove you purchased the software you need to look at your entire method to running your business everything about licencing should be kept until you dispose of the software or it's no longer used any other way is just foolish and it also means you're liable. I'd be more afraid of your business practice than your stupid American business association

The odds? (4, Insightful)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237392)



The odds?

0.

Literally.

0.

If they had any intention of "auditing" people (which, btw, is illegal in and of itself! It violates property laws, search & seizure laws, as well as laws against extortion, to name a few) they would have just gone ahead and done so already. Instead, they've put millions into cranking out form letters to people as scare tactics, since they know they're effectively powerless.

If auditing companies produced any meaningful monetary award, they would already be doing so...which they aren't. And even if they did, they sure as hell wouldn't tell you or I about it in advance.

Logic prevails.

Re:The odds? (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237464)

Yeah, you have to wonder about that. Imagine the RIAA using the same tactics. I probably don't have any proof that I bought any of the CDs I own, even though I have the CDs. Perhaps I stole them, so they'd better charge me for them. It's all BS.

Well, I'm one of the founding members of the BSA (0, Troll)

Sgs-Cruz (526085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237399)

I helped found the BSA. And let me tell you, it is a necessary organization. Hard-working coders at companies like Microsoft, and, uh, Oracle are literally starving on the streets because people are not coughing up the measly $12,000 for a single-seat license of Office XP. And, uh, uh...

SCREW THIS. So much for 'taking the opposing point of view'. You know why the BSA exists? Because executives at giant software companies had a dream. And that dream was to have six supermodels wrestling nightly in Cristal champagne. And 0-day warez is THREATENING THAT DREAM! Think about it! Do you want to kill that dream? SUPPORT THE BSA!

No leg to stand on. (5, Interesting)

dentar (6540) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237424)

I've seen these letter before from clients. If they do not specifically charge you with piracy, stealing or whatever, throw it out and don't bother downloading their spyware.

You have the same rights you always had. They have to have probable cause to get a warrant, and they have to have a warrant before they can come into your office forcibly. A warrantless vampire cannot come in unless you invite them in.

IANAL, but I believe that as long as you have practiced due diligence and can show that you took reasonable steps to not break the law, then no judge with an actual brain would rule against you.

That being said, the BSA is looking for those who buy one copy and load it all across the office. I know of a company that did that, got ratted on by a disgruntled employee. Bottom line: they paid big. These are the fish they want to fry, and there are plenty of them out there.

Now, if you've been pirating software, and get a letter, and throw it out, and they still come after you, you won't get any sympathy from me!

charge them for your time (1)

jbr439 (214107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237429)

Tell them "sure, no prob", but tell them that you'll
charge $X/hour to perform the audit and ask them to draw up the PO.

I got one... (1)

slamb (119285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237444)

...addressed to "Scott X Lamb" at the "Extensis Sold Me Out" corporation. Seriously. I wish I still had it to take a picture, but it's either gone or hopelessly lost by now.

They get those things from mailing lists from other companies, the same way people get any other sort of junk mail. They don't really know much about the people they send them to; they're just hoping for a response. Ignore it or say "go away" - even if you come to their attention, they still can do nothing. They have no authority to search your property. And even the police would need proof of guilt, not lack of proof of innocence. That's how America works.

A friend's solution to BSA, lawsuit threats, etc. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237452)

A friend of mine owns a very small niche vertical intergration software company. He has a canned response for all threats of lawsuits, BSA investigation, etc. The only people he doesn't use this on is the government, since they don't need any help getting any more fucked up.

"Can I please have your lawyers contact number, I have a fax machine, and will send all information I have to your lawyer." He then sends one piece of information (a page, one liscence, etc) at a time, every hour on the hour, to said lawyer, to cause their clients legal bills to explode. Considering that he logs everything he does and has backups dating back for the last 15 years, he has a lot of information that he can send. Legal bills are quick ways to empty someone's pockets.

What gives them the right? (1)

warriorpoet (241801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237463)

I might be missing something obvious here, so apologies if that's the case - but I've never understood what gives the BSA the right to walk into your office and demand to see your licenses? Is it embedded in an EULA somewhere, because I thought even the police were supposed to need a warrant to get into your office...

The perfect crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237467)

The BSA have quite a coercive system: Induce you to waive your right to not incriminate yourself, then induce you to "prove yourself innocent".
They sent me a letter a couple years ago, and I told them not to bother me again. Best strategy is to put them on notice that you consider mail from them to be harassment and to cease and desist.

Whatever (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237474)

I got one of these too. These dumb monkeys are getting the names from free industry rags that you sign up for and any of those jars you dropped your business card in as well as anywhere else they can buy or steal a name.

We have 2 person company that is fully licensed, but these crack monkeys are welcome to come by with a warrant if they want. Expect additional discussions with my lawyer though.

All of the new companies we are working on will be running OSS whenever possible. No Adobe, MS, Macromedia, whatever.

GET SOME PRIORITIES!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237483)

The most horrible space tragedy in recorded history occured five days ago, and all you people can do is talk about whether the BSA "grace period" is a scam? My *god*, folks, get some priorities here!

BSA Radio Ad (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5237485)

I actually heard a radio ad for the BSA outside of Boston today, rather odd.

Basically it was to upper level people in a medium business talking about an BSA announcement and not knowing if they were in compliance, and then the senior person telling the other person to make it his top priority cause it would suck to tell the investors that they made a profit then had to pay it all in fines to the BSA or whomever.

meanwhile, back at the geek compound... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5237500)

Malda: Timothy, I've got some bad news. VA Linux is bleeding red ink like a river of blood. We've got to rightsize someone, i think it has to be you.

Timothy: But Rob, I need this job! You know they won't hire me back at burger king since that peeing incident! And my parents are having the basement fumigated right now! You know Pudge doesn't need a job. Isn't there something I can do?

Malda: Hmmm. Well, if you give me a blowjob, or let me fuck you up the ass, I won't fire you. Whips out his penis

Timothy: starts sucking Hey, your dick tastes like shit!

Malda: What do you expect? Michael didn't want to be fired either!

Malda: Yeah, well,
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