Small Businesses Targeted for Software Violations

Industry group reaps big settlements from little firms
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Nov 26, 2007 4:00 PM CST
Michael Gaertner poses at his architectural business Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007 in Galveston, Texas. Gaertner worried that a letter from Business Software Alliance would put him out of business. He ended...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A group representing major software companies in copyright enforcement actions has been targeting small businesses for violating software licenses, reports the AP. Almost 90% of the Business Software Alliance's $13 million in settlements with North American companies last year came from small companies. Some owners say they were punished for accidentally breaking confusing license agreements, not intentional piracy.

"Sometimes you grow so fast, you can't keep control of everything," said the president of one firm that paid a $125,000 settlement. Some targeted businesses say they now avoid buying software from the tech giants that make up the BSA's membership—including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Apple, Autodesk, and McAfee—opting for open-source alternatives.