The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a watchdog group dedicated to fighting software piracy, educating computer users about software copyrights and cyber-security, and advocating public policy for electronic commerce, international trade, intellectual property protection, export controls, and emerging technology issues.
In the past six years, BSA has collected more than $37 million dollars from companies in the U.S. that have been caught with illegally copied software. If there is good reason to suspect that your company is using unlicensed software, the BSA and U.S. Marshals could show up at your door, unannounced, to do an audit. If you can't prove you own the software, your firm could be liable to make restitution and pay fines of as much as $150,000 for each copy of illegal software found in use at your business. The BSA has a "zero tolerance" rule for offenders but does offer a one month grace period to allow offenders to become compliant.
BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, Macromedia, Microsoft, Symantec, and Unigraphic Solutions. Additional members of BSA's policy council include Compaq, Dell, Entrust, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Network Associates, Novell, and Sybase.