202003.25
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Attempts to Transfer Microsoft Licenses May be Ineffective

Like most software publishers, Microsoft includes terms in its standard license agreements to restrict a licensee’s ability to resell or otherwise assign to another party the right to install or use software. Increasing the level of difficulty for IT groups trying to manage their software assets, different types of Microsoft licenses come with different transfer…

201910.29
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What is a Microsoft SPLA Verified Self-Audit?

If you provide commercial hosting services using Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may become a target of an ever-increasing variety of license audits from Microsoft and its vendors.  The latest flavor of a Microsoft SPLA audit is the verified self-assessment or VSA.  The SPLA verified self-assessment differs from both the independent audit and…

201909.06
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Defending SPLA Audits: Critical First Steps

Many businesses contact Scott & Scott, LLP regarding Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) audits after providing extensive information to Microsoft’s auditors and receiving compliance demands that would be ruinous for their bottom lines, if paid in full. At that stage, it might be difficult to “un-ring the bell” with respect to the data allegedly underlying…

201906.27
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Consult with Counsel for SPLA Audits

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) is a popular licensing framework for businesses delivering hosted or rented software solutions to their customers. However, as with many software license agreements pertaining to resale or other business channel partnership programs, the SPLA typically includes audit rights language giving Microsoft the ability to review a SPLA partner’s records…

201905.14
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BSA Audit Procedures

Most BSA Audits begin with a report from a disgruntled employee or former employee. The Business Software Alliance maintains telephone hotlines and a web site to encourage disgruntled employees and vendors to make anonymous reports against companies of all sizes. The BSA dedicates a substantial portion of its revenue marketing on radio stations and the…

201904.29
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How to Protect Your Company in a Microsoft SPLA Self-Certification

If your company licenses products to third parties under the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may receive a request to perform a self assessment and provide a certification of compliance to Microsoft.  The SPLA self-assessment audit is a new audit flavor that is unlike the independent audits Microsoft has historically used to audit…

201904.18
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Preparing for the Inevitable SPLA Audit

If your company uses a Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA)—and it probably does if Microsoft considers you to be in the commercial hosting business—you will be audited at some point. Typically, Microsoft SPLA customers are audited once every three years. When that time comes, it is important to know how your company may be…

201903.20
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Do You Need a Microsoft Service Provider License (SPLA)?

If your business model involves hosting applications, websites or data, chances are that Microsoft will require you to obtain and follow a SPLA. Businesses that use Microsoft software for internal use only, or where third-party access is anonymous or unauthenticated, do not need a SPLA. With limited exceptions, Microsoft does require customers engaged in commercial…

201903.08
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BSA Audit Timeline

One of the top ten questions asked by my clients is “How long does the BSA self-audit process take from start to finish?” Of course I give the standard lawyer answer: it depends. Here are the steps to a typical BSA audit. Preparation of Audit Materials (3 to 6 months) A BSA audit is a…