Software Compliance, a Win-Win

posted by in Compliance and Enforcement October 1, 2012
Oct 01

When enterprises effectively manage their software assets, everybody wins. And frequently the biggest winner is the enterprise itself. Organizations that intentionally or even inadvertently use software that is not fully licensed face a host of risks — including legal risk (which can prove exceedingly expensive), security threats, and the reputational risk associated with a lawsuit or a security failure. Organizations that don’t know what software they have, or whether it is properly licensed, also suffer from operational inefficiencies, leading directly to increased costs.

So, why don’t all organizations simply ensure that they are managing their software appropriately? Sometimes, it is because businesses — particularly small and medium businesses — feel overwhelmed, believing that managing their software is simply too difficult or too complex. To address this issue, BSA recently launched a software license management and compliance-reporting registry called the License Management Registry 360 (LMR360). LMR360 is a tool that companies can use to track both the software they have deployed and the licenses they have. But importantly, it also allows companies to distinguish themselves competitively. That is because companies can use LMR360 not only as a management tool, but can also choose to make their participation in LMR360 public. With their LMR360 “registered” status, LMR360 companies can demonstrate to their customers that they are safe, reliable and ethical partners. Although LMR360 only recently launched, we are already seeing uptake from companies in our three pilot markets: India, Malaysia, and Taiwan. We have also been delighted to receive endorsements from various trade and government organizations.

We are particularly excited to have received the endorsement of the Visual Effects Society, the entertainment industry’s advocate for the visual arts. Just this week, VES announced it was partnering with us on this initiative, taking the message of compliance and competitiveness to their members.

The visual effects industry, which creates the visual effects that make modern advertisements, entertainment, and communications uniquely powerful and effective, will benefit particularly from LMR360, as designers who use legal software are unfairly undercut by international competitors who can underbid on services because they use illegal and unlicensed software.

Registration on the LMR360 is free during the current pilot phase. We hope that the expansion of LMR360 will help companies to use — and to demonstrate to their customers that they are using — genuine, legal software. To learn more about the LMR360 program, please visit: www.lmr360.org.

4 Responses

  1. Rob Harmer says:

    Gut -fell tells me that central vendor registries are a bad idea as the essential documentation (the only documentation) is actually with the customer and the central storehouse will always be dynamic, not static. Already we are seeing more vendors relying on license Ts and Cs being “on the www”.

    Will you be immune from attack or a target by the BSA?
    How much effort at the client side will be required to “send your data into the “cloud”.
    How often will it need to be uploaded?

    My clients wouldn’t trust a vendor sponsored registry to provide reliable intelligence about software inventory and licenses any more than they would trust a vendor to do it. My clients will always hold the original documentation not any third party. This is not negotiable.

    How will you answer the CEO question that asks, “what have we installed on our systems, are we compliant?”, when the vendor auditors of the BSA counsel knock at the front door?

    Think also about how you do true-ups and verify via proof of purchase.

    Relying on data on 3rd party sites may not be the best answer you can give the CEO.

    Most sites will opt for in-house management even though we all know they do with varying degrees of “accuracy”, with the accuracy word being very loosely defined.

    Gut -fell tells me that central vendor registries are a bad idea.

  2. Rob Harmer says:

    “Registration on the LMR360 is free during the current pilot phase.”

    What is the proposed cost structure for licensing?

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