Post a new topic
    6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 26, 2010 8:28 PM by Steeleworks

    Need legal help with software licensing/copyright issues

    SB.i2i Newbie
      We're a software company with a specific industrial solution. One of our customers has violated our software license tems, and does not want to comply. Our software is copyright registered and there seems to be multiple cases of unauthorized copy and use. They don't want to pay the additional licensing fees for additional use.

      If you're an attorney, or have had similar issues, I'd like to hear from you, and appreciate your feedback, direction and comments about protecting our rights.

      Thanks,
        • Re: Need legal help with software licensing/copyright issues
          DomainDiva Ranger
          I am not any attorney but we are in the SaaS business. Illegal usage of software is a huge problem. I spend a lot of money on software licensing purchasing complete copies of all software for each computer that we own (6 so far). Each computer/owner has its' own Office, Visio, CS4 etc. CS 4 licensing nearly killed me this last go around....1400.00 for one laptop.

          If you are not web based and cannot access their system(s) for periodic updates then you have a couple of options:

          Notify them in writing that they are in violation of the licensing agreement by X licenses and XXX date. Send them a copy of the contract or TOS with the licensing agreement portion highlighted, and enclose an invoice for the licenses and give them X number of days to make payment in full. Remind them in this letter that you are going to seek legal action against them.

          Copy all of this to your attorney. If they do not comply then take legal action...quick! Then if they call refer them to your attorney. If word gets out that you tolerate this then your software will be everywhere.

          By all means STOP supporting them. Refuse to assist them with any IT problems until they are in compliance. Tell the tech calling that they need to speak with their accounting offices/owners to solve the problem.

          If they pay, you may want to negotiate a new contract that stipulates that you can perform a quarterly 'audit' of their system to ensure compliance.

          Good Luck
            • Re: Need legal help with software licensing/copyright issues
              SB.i2i Newbie
              Thanks for your reply... points well taken. Problem is the legal action part-- I'm at a point where we need an attorney to proceed but I dont think it's a good idea to warn and not be ready to take action. So, I'm looking for ways to "prepare" us for such action if necessary. From the way things are going, it looks like it will be be necessary. Thankfully, our software is copyright registered, something I recommend to everyone in software business. I hope you have taken the steps to do so if you're licensing and want to protect.
              Thanks,
                • Re: Need legal help with software licensing/copyright issues
                  DomainDiva Ranger
                  Well by all means get ready to take action. Be sure to give your attorney all correspondence and information as well as a 'go' date. You may be able to file suit in Federal Court, again only your attorney can advise.
                    • Re: Need legal help with software licensing/copyright issues
                      Steeleworks Newbie
                      Consider finding a lawyer who specializes in internet and computer law. There are only a few but you will get much farther with someone who knows the lay of the land.

                      This way, you can get a lot done with a simple letter from the lawyer.

                      One of my clients got a letter from a lawyer about something once. I knew the company that hired the lawyer so I approached them. It turned out that had my customer complied with what the $450 per hour lawyer asked, it would have caused even more harm to the company hiring the lawyer. This is because the lawyer did not know the law or what he was writing about.

                      This was over an article I wrote. Although trying to be fair and honest, I made an error. Ther was no fact check and the article was written in what legally is known as 'Absence of Malace.'

                      The problem was easily resolved by just talking to the offended party.

                      The point is, hire an attorney in the field and not just any attorney and you will get much farther.

                      Best wishes.