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NexPress to Pay Fine for Unlicensed Copies of Software Programs (Plus WTT Analysis)

Press release from the issuing company

May 5, 2003 -- (WhatTheyThink.com) -- NexPress Solutions LLC will pay $157,404 to settle claims brought by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) for having unlicensed copies of general software on its office computers. BSA announced the settlement in a press release last week. BSA, a watchdog group, has collected more than $83 million in penalties from companies using unlicensed software over the last 12 years. Their members include companies like Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Internet Security Systems and Symantec. In this case, BSA contacted NexPress through its attorney.  NexPress cooperated with BSA and voluntarily conducted a self-audit.   Domenick Vitulli, director of information systems and vice president of NexPress said the problem was an oversight. "NexPress Solutions certainly respects copyrights. We have corrected this situation, which occurred inadvertently during our rapid growth, and have implemented procedures to ensure the problem doesn't recur." “Companies should ensure that all of the software programs installed on their computers are fully licensed before they become the focus of a BSA investigation,” said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement for BSA.  “This settlement illustrates that it is more expensive to copy software than to acquire a sufficient number of licenses in the first place.” ---- WTT Analysis - The printing industry is viewed as a prime target for organizations like BSA. We have learned that several printers and industry vendors have been investigated and some have paid fines. (A printer in Minneapolis paid $260,000 in 2001 to settle claims relating to unlicensed copies of Adobe, Apple, Macromedia and Microsoft programs.) Ben Cooper, PIA’s Executive Vice President for Public Policy, told us last year that copyright and intellectual property protection would be a priority in 2003. Indeed, it is ranked #3 on their list of 25 items to focus on for the 108th Congress. The association has a memo on procedures to help guide their members through the process of responding to BSA audit letters. Cooper is also working on other copyright initiatives that could help printers avoid what one executive calls “The Software Sack”. (www.gain.org) Navigating through complicated license agreements can be unbearable. But NAPL has a product called “Software Violations: Are You at Risk?”. The multimedia CD-ROM features an audio-visual presentation by industry expert Don Goldman. He says BSA has the power of attorney to bring suits against companies for “perceived” licensing violations. Goldman explains how the process works and how a company can minimize the damage if it is “caught” in noncompliance. (www.napl.org) We’ll have more on this topic soon.