A Primer on Software, Licensing and Copyright Laws

Software makes businesses work. Period. But knowing what software makes sense and understanding how to manage it can be a challenge. It is a sophisticated tool and is almost always copyrighted. While open source software can make sense in some very limited scenarios, most often companies need to license software. Managing those licenses and adhering to the installation and use according to the license can be complicated and the penalties for mismanagement can be expensive.

According to the BSA, the Software Alliance, many businesses, large and small, face serious legal risks because of software piracy. Under the law, a company can be held liable for its employees’ actions. If an employee is installing unauthorized software copies on company computers or acquiring illegal software through the Internet, the company can be sued for copyright infringement. This is true even if the company’s management was unaware of the employee’s actions.

Ensuring proper renewals and payments as well as managing updates and patches takes a lot of organization and attention to detail.  Without a plan, companies can find themselves in violation of copyright laws. In the US, estimates suggest that nearly 20% of business software is unlicensed. Fines for software copyright violation can mount quickly since both civil and criminal charges can be brought under US copyright law.

As your business grows, it’s important to have a trusted partner and protocol for keeping track of both your evolving software needs as well as your changing software licenses and copyright laws.

We joined The Big 550 KTRS to talk about software licensing on our Tech Talk segment recently. Our IT Expert joined the show to talk about the different software types, associated limitations, and how SumnerOne can help. If you haven't already, be sure to check out Tech Talk for more exciting information about the wonderful world of technology, brought to you by SumnerOne. 

In Case You Missed It: Tech Talk Updates

Originally published March 29, 2017, updated August 13, 2018


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