Autodesk Software Audit Defense Law Firm - There is no substitute for experience and we have it in DROVES! It is highly doubtful that any technology law firm has handled even a quarter of the Autodesk compliance cases we have handled.
September 2021 Updates. Autodesk is still conducting EULA (contactual) audits and other compliance checks. We have been helping many different companies including architects, designers, engineers, land surveyors and others get their cases settled QUICKLY, and CONFIDENTIALLY, and without needing to go to court in most cases. For those not involved in an audit, here is a blog I recently wrote on the TOP 10 things your organization can do TODAY to reduce that chance of being audited by Autodesk.
I do not believe there is any reasonable dispute that our law firm is THE LEADING LAW FIRM IN THE UNITED STATES to handle and close Autodesk software audits. We have helped many individuals and companies both large and small across the United States prepare for, and respond to the: so-called “voluntary audit letter” sent from either the Business Software Alliance (“BSA”) or from Autodesk directly through bay area intellectual property firm Donahue Fitzgerald.
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Who does Autodesk find out about infringement?
These are the top 10 main ways we (believe) it happens:
- an informant (current or ex-employee). Sometimes they are disgruntled and may have sought a reward (BSA offers a reward for whistleblowing)
- a contractor
- Someone downloads a “cracked copy” via internet torrent (learn more about torrent internet file-sharing here)
- Your company posts a job ad on indeed or LinkedIn seeking someone with “Cad or Revit skills” for example (yet, they see no valid licenses)
- A computer running Autocad “Crashes” and a Crash report is sent to Autodesk and you are not found n the customer database
- Photos in trade journals highlighting your projects and what tools you used to complete the job (ex. Maya or Inventor)
- A search of your job profile on LinkedIn touts your Autocad architecture and design skills (but they don't see you as a paying customer
- Company A folds, and company B buys their computers (with software loaded) but a formal transfer through Autodesk is never done
- Sometimes you get an “internal request for an audit.” (these may be random in nature, I have not confirmed this, however)
- A competitor may have turned you in.
There is also some talk (not confirmed) that when you upgrade software the upgrades are coming with new "phone home" IP protection monitoring that allows many software companies (ex. Solidworks / Dassault) to monitor your network for unlicensed copies. This is hitting really hard right now with many companies having their employees login on their personal home computers (and who knows what was installed on there).
AEC Collection Piracy
The Autodesk AEC collection is a nice collection that can be involved in software compliance issues (many times assigned to more users than you are licensed to assign to - aka "over-installing" software).
Listen to Attorney Steve® explain how to argue INNOCENT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT and save a TON of MONEY on settlements
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Autodesk Software Audit Resources
- The hidden liability trap of Autodesk student licenses
- How to handle a CAD license review
- Penalties for willful copyright software piracy
- What happens when you receive a software audit demand letter from Autodesk or Donahue Fitzgerald LLP
- Top Tips to avoid software piracy legal allegations
- VIDEO ON AUTODESK AUDITS
- FAQ on dealing with software licensing issues with Autodesk
- Can you delete software during an audit?
- Important information about Autodesk software “crack codes”
- One way Autodesk may learn about infringement of software
No other law firm, to our knowledge (you can check google and youtube) offers this level of insight and knowledge about the software audit process. We have extensive experience dealing with software companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Bentley, Autodesk, BSA (business software alliance) Vero, Siemens, Solidworks, and the SIIA.
What are the typical infringement penalties for software theft or piracy?
Software piracy can have both civil and criminal implications. However, we rarely see a case move to a criminal court. Usually, the software companies want you to audit your computers, laptops, and servers and account for any software and proof of purchase you might have. When it comes times to penalties through (Donahue Fitzgerald LLP) you can expect a 1-5x penalty multiplier, along with a request for an attorney fee or “pursuit” fee.
You will likely acquire the software you need to “true-up” during the process. If the audit is through the BSA (Autodesk is a member of the business software alliance), they will usually seek more in my opinion, and the software will not convey as part of the deal. Plus at the end of the process, you will need to delete any infringing software.
BEWARE: There are many tricks that can be played against your company if you do not know what you are doing. There are many negotiable items in the settlement agreement, and knowing a good deal from a bad deal often allows us to justify our low flat rate fees.
What if I just ignore the letter or email?
This is a question many people ask when they have received an infringement audit letter and want to discuss their options. Many people have thought (in particular) some of the emails that are received are SCAMS. We can look this over for you as you do need to be aware anything is possible with the internet, and you do not want to get fooled into sending money to the Cayman Islands for example. But, in my experience, ignoring the letter will likely lead to further letters, and perhaps even phone calls from an aggressive Autodesk lawyer. For many companies, they would rather face the situation, get the issue straight, pay as low as fees as possible and get a copyright infringement release for the company, and its officers and directors (yes, they can be held liable despite the corporate veil).
Can I just throw my Computers into the San Francisco Bay?
Some people think that their best option when they receive a notice of copyright software piracy (allegations) that if they just destroy the evidence then it will not exist and there can be no liability since evidence of infringement is lacking. No lawyer should ever advise you to destroy evidence. First, this is unethical, and second, if your case winds up in Federal District Court, not having the computer you have been using for years will likely be seen as destroying evidence (spoliation). This could lead to sanctions including having a "negative inference" jury instruction if the case goes to trial.
Does Autodesk accept payments to settle?
We have been able to obtain payments (and financing is also possible). Every case is different.
Call us at (877) 276-5084. The initial consultation is NO-COST so let's discuss your case in confidence. We offer low predictable FLAT RATE LEGAL FEES for most of our non-litigation work.
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Click here to see our extensive federal court experience. We have appeared in well over 200 federal court cases in CA, NY, Arizona and Texas. We handle cases from around the United States as these are brought as federal copyright disputes (subject to local rules of admission).
In this unique area of law, there is simply no substitute for experience and established working relationships. We have been in business since 2004.
Our firm has likely handled more Autodesk software compliance audits than any other law firm in the Country. This is not 100% confirmed, but would be hard to imagine who is even in second place.