50 Years Old And 12 Years Free Of M$: Ernie Ball

Ernie Ball celebrated 50 years of business in 2012. In 2000 they were raided by BSA’s goons and vowed to be free of M$. Now, 12 years later, they continue doing IT the right way with Free Software.
Ernie_Ball_50_Years

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This just goes to show that GNU/Linux and FLOSS are sustainable choices for business. Ernie Ball saves money every time M$ pushes a new release on the world.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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51 Responses to 50 Years Old And 12 Years Free Of M$: Ernie Ball

  1. bw, minimizing the cost of running that other OS wrote, “True either way. If you opt for Windows, you pay some minor amount of money each time you buy a new computer. How often is that?”

    Let’s see…

    • malware,
    • slowing down,
    • re-installing,
    • re-re-reboots, and
    • ~$100 for the service one can get for ~$20 or less with GNU/Linux is not minor unless you are willing to pay $300 to fill your fuel tank instead of $60.

    Put it another way. There is no reason to throw any money at M$. They are not poor and can do without your money.

  2. bw says:

    “and there’s very little cost thereafter”

    True either way. If you opt for Windows, you pay some minor amount of money each time you buy a new computer. How often is that? Certainly it is not infinite as you try to make it. In most cases you do not even pay that because the list price of a computer with or without Windows installed is often the same regardless, that is where you find the same model for sale with the same hardware and only differing in terms of OS.

    “Ball was not freeloading at all”

    Only if you believe Ball implicitly. OJ had the same kind of story. Where you say “BSA would never have been able to prove significant damage from such errors and would have opted for the statutory damages”, you are more on track. Ball would have known that as well as his lawyers would have known that, too. If you are going to infringe on licenses from Microsoft with your hand me down clients, you are pretty much stuck with infringing on MS Office. You can’t infringe on the OS since it comes with the machine and is good forever.

    So Ball could have been found to infringe only on MS Office, a single work, and would have been fined statutorily between $750 and $30,000, depending on how the judge felt about it. If Ball could show that the infringement was insignificant, as you suggest, the worst fine would be $750 and the judge might assign legal costs as well.

    Instead, Ball willingly parted with $65K plus legal fees. If he is not a moron, he took the least expensive path and the numbers do not support a claim that he was a casual, innocent infringer.

  3. Dr Loser wrote, “what you are saying is that it doesn’t actually matter whether Ernie Ball was negligent and/or freeloading, and it doesn’t matter whether BSA was just doing their job or whether they used excessive threats, etc.”

    Nope. That’s not what I am saying. Ball was not freeloading at all. He had illegal copies but was not using them. He was “handing down” PCs to staff without wiping stuff the staff did not need. That could well have been derelection of duty by the same people who informed on him… e.g. Designer Guy is using PhotoShopTM but gets a new PC and the techie installed PS on DG’s new PC but did not wipe it from the old PC going to a clerk running some shipping task. In court, BSA would never have been able to prove significant damage from such errors and would have opted for the statutory damages. Ball could have afforded any outcome but he was mad as Hell about how BSA, M$’s agent, had treated him and escaped their clutches. No business should let M$ interfere with their business. In the process he has saved a bundle, much more than the settlement cost. M$ lost big-time in that interaction and the publicity probably cost M$ a bunch of other business-customers.

  4. bw wrote, “The real cost of MS software for the 72 machines listed in the story is not very high. In today’s market, you have the incremental cost of Windows, which is somewhere between zero and fifty bucks or so when you compare a Linux computer to a Windows computer”.

    Again… bw is looking at a one-time expenditure for that other OS. M$ arranges to collect every few years forever. That’s an infinite sum. GNU/Linux migration is a one-time cost truly and there’s very little cost thereafter. At one school I migrated, the cost of migration was half the cost of one step on the Wintel treadmill. That school is still happy with GNU/Linux on the same hardware 7 years later. They can move their present software configuration to their next upgrade of hardware with no problem.

    Many organizations are paying ~$1K per seat per annum to maintain that other OS while GNU/Linux shops don’t need to spend even $100. There’s no way GNU/Linux costs the same as or more than that other OS and the cost of that other OS is huge, because that’s what M$ wants.

  5. bw says:

    “That has nothing to do with Ball’s core issue”

    It has a lot to do with it, if you ask me. Ball is not protesting having to pay license fees to use Microsoft software, nor is he protesting the terms of the settlement. Rather, he is protesting that they used his case to leverage others to come clean. Obviously he was not very gratious at the settlement and the BSA must have decided that his business was a lost cause and that would make him fair game for a “pay me now or pay me later” sort of campaign.

    Whether that is less costly than using Windows and MS Office can be argued. He had to hire some Linux-smart IT guy in addition to or in lieu of what he already had in place. The real cost of MS software for the 72 machines listed in the story is not very high. In today’s market, you have the incremental cost of Windows, which is somewhere between zero and fifty bucks or so when you compare a Linux computer to a Windows computer with the same basic hardware added to the cost of MS Office, now available by subscription.

    On an annual basis, that comes to about 72 bucks a year for each person using Office, which, according to the story, is fewer than 72 seats, and a little more for Windows costing extra, say 18 new computers a year if they last 4 years. That ends up being around $6000 or so per year and that is not much money to justify a specialized employee such as a Linux IT admin.

    Ernie is “cutting off his nose to spite his face” as my grampa used to say.

  6. Dr Loser says:

    If it has nothing to do with the core issue, Robert, why did you bring it up in the first place?

    So then, what you are saying is that it doesn’t actually matter whether Ernie Ball was negligent and/or freeloading, and it doesn’t matter whether BSA was just doing their job or whether they used excessive threats, etc.

    If the core issue was “using Ball as an advertisement,” where does that leave Ernie Ball himself? After all, Ernie seems to have got a gratifying amount of advertising out of his decision to go GNU/Linux. (And good for him: everybody needs advertising.)

    I genuinely have no clue what the Microsoft anti-Ball advertising might have been, but it appears to have been singularly ineffective, not to say drowned out by Mr Ball’s robust counter-attack.

    If it’s the “core issue,” then, it doesn’t seem to be one worth a post and forty-five comments.

  7. bw wrote, “Faced with the certain loss in court, Ball settled and has subsequently tried to save face by blaming Microsoft for being so unkind as to defend their copyright.”

    That has nothing to do with Ball’s core issue, using Ball as an advertisement. The settlement was less costly than fighting in court just for the legal fees. Using GNU/Linux was less costly than going forward throwing money at M$.

  8. bw says:

    “This is not USA law”

    Your continuing to show your ignorance here and are just embarassing yourself. A copyright owner can sue for actual damages and lost profits which have to be proven or else can sue for statutory damages, the level of which is determined by a judge based on the facts of the case. If no infringement can be shown, then the damages awarded are zero in either case. If any award is made, legal fees are usually assessed against the defendant as well.

    Ball was caught with an indefensible misuse of software and was faced with loosing the case and paying for the licenses and damages and whatever vague “profits” may have accrued from Ball’s beneficial use of the purloined software. Doubtless the potential legal fees would have been far more than the license fees as well.

    Faced with the certain loss in court, Ball settled and has subsequently tried to save face by blaming Microsoft for being so unkind as to defend their copyright.

    Most people recognize this common phenominon as just being a sore loser.

  9. Microsoft is a continuing monopoly that maintains its ‘popularity’ by preventing anybody from buying ‘bare-bones’ computers (not preloaded with Windows) – or preloaded by competing software by offering a ‘discount’ to everybody who does not offer competing products (except Apple Macs – as Apple sued them over this policy) – and removing this discount if the ‘rules’ are broken. What this means in practice is if a reseller tries to offer a choice of Windows and other operating systems then they have to pay a larger amount of money for Microsoft products. Due to the very slim margins on box shifters this is not a ‘loyalty scheme’ but a way of Microsoft ‘punishing’ resellers from offering competing products – blatant anti-competitive behaviour.

    Years ago, techies in computer shops actually knew stuff – like how to diagnose problems, how to install operating systems and what tweaks made a difference. With Windows being pre-loaded on so many computers in the factory – this knowledge has been lost and most of the guys are just salesmen now with a handful of personnel in ‘support’ (and you usually have to pay for this services). Just occasionally these days you MIGHT find a Chromebook but they don’t exactly go out of the way to sell them!

    I went into PCWorld (in the UK) recently and asked about buying a Chromebook (which they sell). I got blank looks and ‘Sorry sir – I don’t think we sell those!’

    http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/samsung-series-3-wifi-chromebook-silver-19273050-pdt.html

    There have been ‘Linux’ computers sold in the pas but they were the very lowest specification Netbooks with a relatively unknown distribution of Linux (like Linpus or Linspire) that most Linux fans would not have wanted.

    If there was genuine choice in computer shops – lets say Microsoft Windows, Apple Macs, Google Chromebooks and decent specification PCs running a mainstream Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu/Mint/Fedora/openSUSE/Mageia) – and most importantly – the sales staff could take people through the advantages/disadvantages of each model in a non-biased way – then there would be choice. But there isn’t.

    With the Microsoft Surface – things are even worse. The hardware/UEFI is specifically designed to PREVENT users running a competing operating system – how anti-competitive can you get! Even Apple Macs don’t do that!

  10. oiaohm says:

    bw the copyright law wording on settlement go read it closer. Key words “at any time before final judgment is rendered”

    This applies to before you even take it before the court. You cannot make settlement larger than $30 000 full stop without going before judge.

    DrLoser in your stupid cut and paste did not read is there is a started max limit to what you can claim. Read the full block next time.

    Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just.

    Where is the full stop. There is only 1. Everything there is linked by commas. Its legally processed as one statement. You cannot by law Dr Loser cut it into bits. Either all of it applies or none if it does.

    Dr loser you are point to “actual damages and profits”. Problem is that “actual damages and profits” is 504(b). To use the Actual Damages and Profits option you must do everything 504(b).

    504 (b)
    Actual Damages and Profits. — The copyright owner is entitled to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the infringement, and any profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages. In establishing the infringer’s profits, the copyright owner is required to present proof only of the infringer’s gross revenue, and the infringer is required to prove his or her deductible expenses and the elements of profit attributable to factors other than the copyrighted work.

    Notice problem here the copyright owner required to present 1 bit to the courts. The infringer is required to present another. The infringer is fully entitled never to tell the copyright owner the mitigation of profit. The infringer can mark that information for judges/jury eyes only. Because the copyright owner is not allowed to breach the financial information of another company. In fact handing over that information would be an offence on the infringer and copyright owner part for breaching confidentiality of company records.

    So it is legally impossible to legally perform Actual Damages and Profits outside the court room. So you cannot do a settlement for Actual Damages and Profit without at least 1 hearing to determine what the Actual Damages and Profits are and in that hearing you agree to settle before the judge.

    Lot of BSA cases are so called settled without a single court hearing. Please note its not an or it is and between Actual damages and profits. So its take both or none. Settling without going to court is highly restricted under USA copyright law.

    So you only have three legal options.
    1) 504(c)1 Statutory Settlement that you can take at any time less than $30 000 and greater than $750
    504(c)1 is special does not require any court time or judge approval.

    2) 504(b) Actual Damages and profits requires ruling by the a court. This is due to financial information that the infringer and the copyright holder should not be sharing with each other. Yes go before judge present a stack of financial information and then be told what the value of Actual Damages and Profits is. Then you can settle for Actual Damages and Profits without going all the way through. This by coming back to the judge with an proposed settlement that could be the same hearing. This form of settlement becomes a final ruling of the judge accepting the settlement.

    3) 504(c) 2 That is will for infringement and you are going for the punishments. This must go before courts as well.

    If the money you are taking does not fall into 1-3 here you are a criminal performing extortion. BSA is criminal performing extortion. Because no where in copyright law allows you to take money for copyright infringement other than what is in 504. Those 3 are all that 504 allows.

    The rest of the clauses in 504 are allowing variations to those 3.

    bw
    The actual law is that you have to show actual damages
    This is not USA law. This is your problem its Actual Damages and Profit from the illegal usage must both be claimed at once under USA copyright law.

    USA copyright law has teeth. Good teeth. Require judge to rule on teeth.

    bw in Australia we do have the option in our law of taking Actual Damages and Profit separately or both. But the way its written is Actual Damage and/or Profit. So we can take one or both here in Australia against Australian companies. Most countries laws are and/or in this section. USA is a nice odd ball here. It also makes a critical difference in what you are allowed todo.

    bw I guess you are not living in the USA or did not read usa copyright law properly. Like mixing the and up for a legal and/or. The and in that one section takes way settlement.

    bw and Dr Loser you both did not know the actual law.

  11. Ed says:

    Me and the good Dr Loser and his friend bw are tired of this BS. Dr Loser works at Microsoft so he knows what he is talking about. FACT: Windows and proprietary is better than open sores and Linux.

    Usage of open sores and Loonix must stop. It’s insanity to try to compete with Microsoft. Normal people use Window 8, the superior OS. Get in through your thick heads.

  12. lpbbear says:

    “Get your facts right before you spout bullshit.”

    Hmmmmmm, as opposed to your approach? The just post any load of crap in a desperate attempt to discredit anyone who is not falling all over themselves in awe of Microsoft?

    “1. It’s the OEM’s job to provide real installation media.”

    Then explain to us all why it seems OEM’s, in what appears to be a very heavily Microsoft promoted idea, have tended to completely eliminate installation media from the vast majority of new systems? And I am NOT calling the ripoff known as “its on the hard drive, make your own discs if you remember or notice that itty bitty tiny reminder that you should make a set” as “installation media”.

    “2. Official retail ISO images for Windows 7 can be downloaded directly from Digital River. The links are all over the net since Windows 7′s release. No Pirate Bay or whatever necessary. For Windows 8 you can use the Windows 8 Setup program from Microsoft’s website to download an ISO image.”

    So what? That has absolutely nothing to do with anything I or anyone else said here.

    The FACT is Microsoft and its licensing cop, the BSA, are pursuing end users for licensing issues that are caused by ridiculous overbearing and confusing licensing requirements imposed upon them. Software is NOT some special product that is different from any other kind of product mankind creates nor does it deserve any of the bullshit special treatment greedy bastard corporations like Microsoft think it deserves. I have no doubt that “Ernie Ball” never intended to “cheat” Microsoft and was more than likely too busy trying to take care of business instead of pissing time and money down the rathole of worrying about every silly stupid software license Microsoft thinks it deserves. Good for “Ernie Ball” for waking up and having the gumption to move away from such crap. The more Microsoft tightens its paranoid greedy grip on customers, the more frequently you will see this happen.

    Now go buy “your” copy of Office 2013 so you can “own” it dumbass.

  13. bw says:

    “Emerging markets are lapping it up while Wintel stagnates.”

    It is like anything else, really. For a very long time there was nothing else to buy in terms of the computer OS. You either bought a PC with Windows or you bought a Mac with Apple’s system. In some places in the world you can walk into a store and now buy a computer with Linux, or so some people say. You can buy one on-line anywhere without having to try too hard to find one, too.

    PCs are like the familiar standard brands and Macs are like the premium brand and Linux will be like the store brand when it comes to what people buy, I think. Macs have become the choice of the affluent in the past few years, particularly as iPod, iPhone, and iPad have grabbed the upper crust part of the markets for these toys.

    Time will tell, I think. I’m not seeing any Linux computers in stores, though.

  14. bw says:

    “you live in fake reality.”

    We all do that to some degree, but you are the king around here. Where is your reference for Ball suing Microsoft and winning? That was a pure fiction on your part and is only one of many such claims that are totally without any merit.

    You claimed to have access to the details of the BSA complaint against Ball, but you cannot show anything. You make up straw men so that you can misinterpret the laws and sagely claim that Microsoft and the BSA are criminal activities operating above the law, but your arguments are juvenile constructions that do not even align with the plain English language of the laws you cite.

    Take for example your moronic statement:

    “Hang on Ernie Ball is charged 65000+ in so called fines. By law without going before a judge and getting ruling the Max charge you are allowed to apply directly $30,000 under USA copyright law any more you are meant to take the case before a judge”

    The actual law is that you have to show actual damages or else accept a judge or jury’s determination of statutory damages, which range from a low of $750 to a maximum of $30,000. To win anything at all, though, you have to prove your claim. A judge is not going to award any more than $750 for misuse of a $500 product. Furthermore, a judge is not going to award anything if there is no proof of beneficial use of the product where a license violation was incidental and even accidental as claimed by Ball.

    The judge or jury sets the level of the statutory fine, not the plaintiff. To even get that far, you have to win the case of showing that there was a willful violation of the copyright law and that you were damaged thereby. Then the issue of actual damages vs statutory damages will be adjudicated.

    In the Ball case, the case was settled between the parties without ever going to court. Ball accepted the offered settlement although it is not known if that was the first offer or not. At that level, Ball certainly had counsel and their mutual decision was to settle for the amount published. That shows that Ball did not have a very good case as a defendant, else he would have refused to settle and gone to court to try the case on its merits.

  15. Ed wrote, “Your OS and community will fall. Believe it.”

    Hmmm… Unit shipments growth rate is huge for GNU/Linux and near 100% per annum for Android/Linux. I don’t see imminent failure. Further there is no particular mechanism for failure: people make money shipping GNU/Linux and Android/Linux, legal challenges have fallen like flies, and there are now millions of developers producing FLOSS. What can go wrong? Emerging markets are lapping it up while Wintel stagnates.

  16. DrLoser says:

    What part of

    the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgement is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action

    do you not understand, Hamster?

    It’s pretty offensive to bring this in to a discussion of Ernie Ball — even I think he may have been mistreated. But this is simple legal process.

    Before final judgement is rendered, the two parties (as usual) can come to a settlement. This clause defines the parameters of that settlement.

    Apparently, in the BSA case, the plaintiff chose not to settle before final judgement.

    You may care to consider why that choice was made … oh, I know, it’s all an anti-FOSS conspiracy, just so’s they could use Ernie in their remarkably successful (considering that nobody I know has ever seen one) adverts.

    Pah.

  17. oiaohm says:

    –The BSA is just another complainant. They have much less clout than the IRS. If you are not infringing, they cannot prove that you are. They may threaten and bluff and offer an easy way out with some reduced fine, but they are not above any law, particularly the copyright laws.–

    Really you think the BSA obeys the copyright law. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    bw you live in fake reality.

    bw
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#504 here is the real kicker for idiots like you who say the BSA is obeying the law.

    504(c)
    (1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgement is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringer are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.

    Hang on Ernie Ball is charged 65000+ in so called fines. By law without going before a judge and getting ruling the Max charge you are allowed to apply directly $30,000 under USA copyright law any more you are meant to take the case before a judge.

    BSA basically does not give a crap about the law bw. The Ernie Ball case is illegal under USA law to be settled out of court. The out of court settlement amount exceeds what USA law allows. Along with many many others. Because the demanded amounts exceed what you can be granted without a court order.

    504 b is not obeyed either by the BSA. Its very clear on what are actual damages. This does not allow unbundling of Office suites to claim more licenses. Since that is not actual damages.

    Now how is BSA USA getting away with it.
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#505

    In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party other than the United States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the court may also award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.

    505 allows BSA to go a cost hearing before case is even under way. Start of 505 fails to say at end of proceeding or to prevailing party only. Also clearly states you can only recover you attorney’s fees if you win. So the BSA costs you can be forced to pay up front you can never recover even if you win. The first line of 505 in the USA copyright law is totally unfair. BSA cost is going to be more than the fine. So win in this case you lose all because 1 section of the law is wrong.

    The is the problem the BSA USA is cherry picking.
    What is required.

    1) Remove or correct the first line of 505 to a more fair setting.
    2) Someone beat the living heck out the BSA for breaching 504(c)(2) many times over. BSA has no legal right to issue the fines the size they do.(possible with 505 fixed)
    3) Someone implement a cheaper court system to process copyright cases.

    IRS does has be legal right to issue the fines they do. The issue here the BSA in fact does not.

    Really bw when you know the max is $30 000 without a court order in the USA the number of breach of copyright law offences BSA has is massive.

    Everything the BSA is basically doing for copyright protection is illegal in the USA and they are not facing court over it.

    If you wanted to go more than 30 000 dollars legally you would have to sell the people the software to replace their illegal software if you are not going to court. This is not what the BSA does.

    Simple bw there are legal ways the BSA could do things problem is they are not doing them in the USA.

  18. Ed says:

    Mr. Pogson,

    I’ve been referred here by my estimated collogue olderman, who asked for my expertise in fighting this threat you pose to the Windows operating system.

    I’m here telling you that we will not go down without a fight. Get ready. Our people are already putting the plans in place to destroy Loonix and open sores for good. You won’t stop us, we will deflect all your attempts to stop us. Your OS and community will fall. Believe it.

    -Ed

  19. bw says:

    “Neither apply to the BSA.”

    The BSA is just another complainant. They have much less clout than the IRS. If you are not infringing, they cannot prove that you are. They may threaten and bluff and offer an easy way out with some reduced fine, but they are not above any law, particularly the copyright laws. You do not know beans about it, it is clear and you make up stories as anecdotes and never offer any proof.

    Where is the proof that Ball sued Microsoft and won? Where are the details you promised detailing the Ball settlement?

    Ball had the testimony of a disgruntled employee as a bargaining chip. Ball had an obviously guilty conscience and was willing to settle out of court. I would deduce that the rat had the goods on Ball and Ball knew it and his lawyers told him to settle.

  20. oiaohm says:

    Der Balrog
    –Get your facts right before you spout bullshit.

    1. It’s the OEM’s job to provide real installation media.–

    Take your own advice here. OEM are not mandated with Windows 7 to provide installation media unless the install solution they use have installation media.

    Do you wonder why Laptop has a recovery partition and no disc. Or you get custom install discs no clean ones….

    OEM is only allowed to provide one form of reinstall media. I make you a customised install media I am not allowed to provide OEM clean disc as well.

    This is why you have to go and download from digital river.

    MS rules sux.

  21. oiaohm says:

    bw IRS has been approved to legally provide punishments and you do have the right to go court without having to pay the IRS bill up front to dispute. Neither apply to the BSA.

    bw
    –Would you condemn the IRS because the tax codes are so hard to understand and it is only fair to avoid paying them? —
    Just like the IRS the BSA does make errors. The key different. Issue with the IRS you do have the option of court. IRS has been over turned many times in USA history in court for getting stuff wrong.

    BSA in Australia has been defeated in court many times.

    BSA in most countries has been defeated many times. USA they have never been defeated in court due the stupid bit of law meaning right for a start of a case against them they never have to pay a cent. So they can go straight out and employ private detectives to follow everyone. This is exactly what was.

    Did you not read the maths BSA use bw
    –Misuse of $65K worth of software packages from Microsoft is a lot of misuse and it is hard to believe that Ernie was not just looking the other way on purpose if he really didn’t know. Very few others have that problem.–

    Retail price 65K sounds like a lot until you convert from BSA to approx retail of what people would normally buy. 34×400=13600 upper lower 11×400. $4400 yet BSA calls it 65K. We have been told infected machines were less than 8 percent of there install base at Ernie Ball. So random sampling and checking machines could have simply missed it.

    Remember BSA normally does a times by 3 on anyone who minorally disputes. So 65K/3 it would have started as a $22000 dollar issue max. With the times by 4 of MS office at least. We are not talking volume in the Ernie Ball.

    bw the big thing BSA does worst case they never ever publish what the best case would be. So MS Office is priced as individual applications acquired by the most expensive channel.

    This is your problem BSA made up a nice huge figure in an attempt they don’t look like the bad guy. Reality if its under 100000 dollars bill from BSA its down right small amounts. Reality most BSA cases are minor errors not major ones. Average BSA fine in the USA is about 50 000 and replacement value not there figure is always about 1/5 of that.

    If people could get into court BSA USA would be more like BSA Australia. The fine levels are lower here for the same quality of MS Office. Unbundling is not allowed. ie if MS Office was installed yes 7 applications were installed but due to be installed bundle the punishment has to be based on the single copy of MS Office. Court cases here have set the rules.

    BSA USA just gets to write there own rules without any court oversite. This is completely wrong.

    Remember bw $65000 of what. Real copyright thief or BSA made up thief. BSA made up thief is what I call you have lost a invoice but you have everything else include reprints of invoice from supply to prove it yours and BSA USA will not accept it.

    bw USA needs the free court case ride removed from BSA to allow a few cases to go threw to make BSA in the USA more fair on end users.

    Disgruntled employee there is a problem here bw. In a normal criminal case if I have a Disgruntled employee reporting something I have to make sure they are not profiting or were responsible.

    BSA in the USA does not. Yes its insane what the BSA USA allows. Its like an employee commits murder on your propriety goes to the police reports the murder and you are the one in jail.

    bw basically its fine to have a group like the BSA going around searching for those breaking copyright laws. Its not fine when that group is outside normal legal. IRS is not outside normal legal.

    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130122/BIZ/130129858/1031/BIZ See the IRS gets things wrong and is held to account by the courts.

    Healthy enforcement system you should see so many cases going to court and the bringer lose a few due to miss understanding of rules.

    bw Roberts last job was at a school that he took open source due to missing documentation to prove they had legal licenses. So he and I don’t support copyright infringement one bit.

    bw the big thing I want is everyone to receive fair punishment for crimes. BSA USA is not handing down confirmed fair punishments by the law of land.

    BSA USA is not a proper system.

  22. DrLoser says:

    Just to repeat.

    Now, as it happens, I’m in two minds about this one. It’s quite possible that the BSA came down like a hammer on a small company just to make an example of it.

    Funny how this is the only small company, in twelve years, that features in this sort of discussion, isn’t it?

    I have yet to see a single piece of evidence that Ernie Ball was picked on unfairly, and I have, in fact, looked quite hard. It’s possible I’ve missed something, but various links to biased sources such as CNET do not constitute evidence.

    I would like to believe that Ernie Ball was just incompetent (although, tbh, $65,000 of unaccounted licenses in a small shop is an awful lot of incompetence). I am prepared to believe that there is some sort of black-helicopter Evil Fed thing going on here.

    But there’s no evidence.

    More than that, there is only a single anecdote. Where is the Mom’n’Pop store in Iowa that also got strafed by BSA nasties? Just how many of these “injustices” are there out there?

    Let me put this in simple, yet lucid, terms, Hamster. There are no other registered cases.

    Now, I understand you are not one for lucidity, so I will happily accept your evidence in the form of your usual gibberish plus links.

    Who else has suffered this awful unlawful intolerable unprovoked attack by the BSA on their right to go about business on a day-to-day basis with the odd bit of sleepy accountancy on the way?

    Can you come up with a single other instance? (You’d need dozens for your accusation to stand up to reason.)

    You can’t, can you?

  23. Der Balrog says:

    [Pathetic story about poor small businesses cut] Now they need to reinstall but because of yet more greed on Microsoft’s part there are no reinstall discs and since they had no personnel to create them the small business does what millions do. They grab the nearest old copy of Windows available to them and reinstall their system so they can get back to doing actual business rather than wasting time on Microsoft’s licensing bullshit.

    Get your facts right before you spout bullshit.

    1. It’s the OEM’s job to provide real installation media.

    2. Official retail ISO images for Windows 7 can be downloaded directly from Digital River. The links are all over the net since Windows 7’s release. No Pirate Bay or whatever necessary. For Windows 8 you can use the Windows 8 Setup program from Microsoft’s website to download an ISO image.

  24. lpbbear says:

    There are so many pitfalls in the Microsoft licensing approach its really impossible for end users to be able to comply.

    First off there’s the whole idea that software is somehow “different” from any other product you purchase. Microsoft and other greedy bastards in the software business would love society to accept as normal the idea that when you purchase software it enters some mysterious gray area where even after you have paid for it you don’t “own” it. Thank god this insanity has so far not spread to other products!

    As a result of the backlash of society against the above perverted idea of ownership companies like Microsoft have tried to foist on the consumer Microsoft has steadily increased the amount of ridiculous terms in the various “EULAs” and the silly restrictions it thinks it can impose upon end users. For example the recent Office is tied to the first machine it is loaded on horseshit. Is it any wonder they are steadily losing market share? The more they lose market share the more of these desperate silly restrictions they come up with.

    The reality is that these kinds of restrictions are way out of line with the way people think about ownership of what they purchase and the licensing requirements are so ridiculous that no one pays any attention to them anymore. IT people might be aware of them but the general user couldn’t care less which makes for situations ripe for licensing issues as defined by Microsoft and the BSA in small organizations without the manpower to police such things.

    Add to that the fact that most new Windows systems do not even come with the actual software and the potential for these kinds of issues goes off the charts.

    For instance a small business purchases new systems with Windows pre-installed. Since they can afford little to no help in the IT area they neglect to track licenses. Since again, they have little to no help in the IT area, they also don’t get around to creating “restore discs”. Eventually, as Windows systems are likely to do, one of these systems craps out. Now they need to reinstall but because of yet more greed on Microsoft’s part there are no reinstall discs and since they had no personnel to create them the small business does what millions do. They grab the nearest old copy of Windows available to them and reinstall their system so they can get back to doing actual business rather than wasting time on Microsoft’s licensing bullshit.

    Of course now the BSA can swoop in and levy some outrageous fine on them for licensing compliance.

    This is an insane perverted system that places a single software vendors needs over their customers and forces their customers to waste an incredible amount of time and money on tracking trivial crap rather than letting the customer focus on business. It is a system ripe for “abuse” as defined by Microsoft and the BSA. Most businesses are already too busy trying to keep up with staying in business. They simply don’t have time to give to Microsoft to keep ahead of an ever increasing burden of ridiculous licensing requirements and restrictions nor the funds to create whole new departments of personnel to track such bogus issues. I would guess that most small business are out of compliance in some way or another according to Microsoft and the BSA and not because the small business is intentionally doing it. No, more because the entire software licensing regimes as defined by these companies goes against how mankind has defined ownership of property for thousands of years.

  25. bw says:

    “The reality of running a small business, particularly in a recession, is that you don’t”

    Nothing like claiming to be a lost soul in order to get by, but the fellow was in “business” after all. Did the lack of understanding of his IT situation extend to a lack of understanding of the tax codes? Do you suppose he forgot to pay taxes on some of his income? Would you condemn the IRS because the tax codes are so hard to understand and it is only fair to avoid paying them?

    Easy or hard, it is necessary to know what you are doing. He knows how to make a guitar string (presumably) but unless he knows about how to run a business, he is only a string maker and not a businessman.

    Also, there are tens of thousands of such businesses, if not hundreds of thousands, and almost all of them never have such problems. Apparently you never had them, so what is different? If others can cope, as you yourself was able to do, then why not Ernie? Misuse of $65K worth of software packages from Microsoft is a lot of misuse and it is hard to believe that Ernie was not just looking the other way on purpose if he really didn’t know. Very few others have that problem.

    Another thought that comes to mind is that Ball was done in by a “disgruntled employee” who ratted him out to the BSA for the reward money. Regardless of how you feel about rats, the incident shows that there was at least one employee, the disgruntled one, who understood that there was significant license violation in effect at Ball. It is not much of a stretch to suppose that more than one person was aware and, not being so disgruntled, might have alerted Ball to the situation.

    There is too much wrong with his story to make him a poster child for the evils of software licensing.

  26. In UK:
    ““I’m quite nauseated by the BSA’s tactics,” the owner of the 15-employee company told PC Pro. “It is basically harvesting allegations from disgruntled employees and farming them out to expensive law firms. It seeks proof of compliance, but we’re a small company with nine-year-old PCs – even though someone could stand and wave a finger and say ‘You should know exactly what’s on those systems’, but the truth is I don’t. The reality of running a small business, particularly in a recession, is that you don’t.””

    I can relate to that. Most of the schools in which I have worked had no one competent to administer a system before I arrived. They just bought retail PCs or used donated PCs and plugged them in. At the last place I asked if they had any documentation at all and they said they could not find any. All I could do was to inventory machines and “stickers” which is grossly inadequate, according to BSA. Schools are small businesses essentially with 1-100 employees and a few $million in cash-flow. A good IT-person would cost almost as much as a teacher and their budgets often have no space for that. Where I last worked they were funded on a formula that included student bodies and nothing special for IT at all.

    BSA used Ernie Ball in ads. That’s what really ticked him off. What business would expect a customer to stay with the business after besmirching their reputation like that? “the BSA, a trade group that helps enforce copyrights and licensing provisions for major business software makers, had put the company on the evening news and featured it in regional ads warning other businesses to monitor their software licenses.” M$ did not even apologize for that happening and BSA was their agent in the matter.

    In USA:
    “Microsoft don’t just do threats however, as schools across the world have discovered. Microsoft especially like going after schools. Probably because they can’t run away like those pesky pirates can. In 2002, at the busiest time in the school year, Microsoft gave the 24 largest school districts in Washington and Oregon 60 days to inventory their huge number of computers and match them all to paperwork proving they have valid licenses for all Microsoft software. Microsoft’s Guide to Accepting Donated Computers states that you cannot accept donations that do not include the original disks and certificates for Windows and all other software on them19. Failing this, the district could just sign the Microsoft School Agreement. Just count all the computers and pay Microsoft $42 per computer every year. The Microsoft agreement says you count all computers that could conceivably ever run any Microsoft software. That includes Apple Macintoshes and apparently any computers running Linux, Unix and other non-Microsoft operating systems.”

    see Microsoft/Licences

  27. bw says:

    “That’s about the situation at my last job”

    Did the BSA actually show up and fine your company because of that? Details, please!

    In searching around to try to find corroboration of some of these charges, I looked at the BSA website and the only things published there are what seem to be pretty egregious violations of the copyright laws and international agreements. For example:

    http://www.bsa.org/country/News%20and%20Events/News%20Archives/en/2013/en-01082013-ChinesePiracy.aspx

    Are you really so supportive of these pirates?

  28. bw says:

    “Ernie ball sued Microsoft for deformation for how they used the BSA case in there media to attempt to get conformance and won.”

    It is one thing to be so obsessive, but quite another to just make things up. None of the posted articles even hint at such a thing. You claimed you could access the details of the case settlement, too, but could not deliver when challenged. That, along with your specious sort of legal theories on how the BSA is or is not constrained by various laws makes you into some sort of ignorant bloviator. Pardon the insult, but I see no way around it.

    Using the open source stuff doesn’t get a company off any such hook either. Look up the numerous cases where companies were sued by the Software Freedom Law Center for using open source programs inside their own products. Verizon was such a company and all that they were doing was re-selling modems made by some little company. I think that is where the term “cancer” first came to be applied to open source.

  29. oiaohm wrote, “big big advantage with FOSS lets say your business is running on libreoffice. You find a machine missing it you can just install. You don’t have to go to filing cabinet and find out if the paper work to legally install it still exists. Lot of business skip the process of going to filing cabinet with closed source and this is where error creep in.”

    Amen. That’s about the situation at my last job, They did not even have an inventory or list of authentication codes. Stickers were damaged.

  30. oiaohm says:

    oe in fact just to be a complete pain in but running FOSS does not stop them from being able to come to door.

    Its the little thing like have a lawyer present while doing up your software inventory so its protected under client privilege. So you can see the BSA numbers first and find there errors. This is also costly.

    The reality you still need todo auditing. At least if the stuff is FOSS you don’t need a laywer sitting there when you telly up the numbers. Getting lawyers at suitable time can be tricky and they are not cheep. This is one of the hidden expenses caused by BSA existence and lack of fair due process for software license infringement.

    Basically it simpler to fight a speeding ticket than the BSA in the USA.

    oe big big advantage with FOSS lets say your business is running on libreoffice. You find a machine missing it you can just install. You don’t have to go to filing cabinet and find out if the paper work to legally install it still exists. Lot of business skip the process of going to filing cabinet with closed source and this is where error creep in.

    Yes something that is overlooked in Munich case. One of the reasons why Windows costs are so high is the mandorady pain in but license tracking to make sure you are legal. Doing this takes time you could be responding to staff issues.

  31. oe says:

    Seems like not having to have an entire redudant staff to perform software auditing, much like the required finicaial accounting is one more major selling feature for FOSS or other non-commerical liceence software.

  32. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser yes it bang goes the Constitution. Ok means to legally fight that the box set you have is valid you have to go to court to prove that. Problem due to what BSA got past USA congress for copyright protection fight that case you have to pay your costs and the BSA costs upfront even before you get before a judge for the first ruling. Funny have to pay the other parties side is design to assist small copyright holders against large companies. This is also why the BSA is maintained with almost no value in assets.

    Against the BSA in the USA you basically have no right to appeal to the courts that is going to win in money. Yes complete breach of the rights written in the USA Constitution.

    They are a shell company with no assets. They can charge you the value they want in legal expense and send off to there customer. There is zero possibility of winning in court against the BSA in the USA.

    BSA has no legal right to issue fines. The 65000 fine so call against Ernie Ball is a settlement demand.

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2001/0219piracy.html

    There are many companies talking about this issue. All there are basically the same group. Ernie Ball was basically first off the rank by bad luck.

    Ernie ball sued Microsoft for deformation for how they used the BSA case in there media to attempt to get conformance and won.

    After that MS has been way more careful not to mention company names unless they are selling pirate wares and people who purchase from them need to know.

    –Were the invoices “lost in a fire?” Were there other mitigating circumstances?–
    Bush fire the fact the build was completely lost was not mitigating to BSA Auditors. Australian courts it down right mitigating so since then BSA Australia has accepted box with product key as proff of ownership. Basically USA you are up the crappier due to what Congress passed. Here we do have the right to take the BSA to court if we think their claim is unfair or wrong and get our costs paid.

    DrLoser
    –Any specific evidence that Ernie Ball followed the guidelines you suggested, vis-a-vis the BSA, Hamster?–
    In fact in 2000 BSA was still new to the game of software copyright enforcement so Ernie Ball had no information at all how BSA handled invoices to prove owner ship. 12+ years ago getting audited really suxed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Software_Alliance

    BSA first Audit and attempted charge was 1995. Ernie Ball got caught before the rules of the game BSA use become public. Like how they are pricks over invoices. So truthfully they did not stand a chance. There is no way in 2000 that Ernie Ball could have known about the invoice requirement before the Auditors landed. It is perfect believable they has boxed sets on shelf and they believed they are fine as we know now they are not without a invoice.

    Microsoft has not assisted in getting the information on the rules the BSA applies to there customers either.

    There are a lot of links off the wikipedia talking about the BSA of the USA excess heavy handling when dealing with copyright issues.

    1999-2002 BSA went on quite a major bliz with 1000 dollars to people to dob in.

    Current day prize to dob in max is 200 000USD if you are in the usa. Bad part is you can receive the 200 000 USD even if you are the staff member responsible.

    Yes BSA USA has a habit of targeting smaller companies that do lack the means to fight back.

    DrLoser really there should be enough 100 percent illegal users out there not to have to make example of someone with about 8 percent wrong in media.

  33. DrLoser says:

    Any specific evidence that Ernie Ball followed the guidelines you suggested, vis-a-vis the BSA, Hamster?

    No?

    Were the invoices “lost in a fire?” Were there other mitigating circumstances?

    Now, as it happens, I’m in two minds about this one. It’s quite possible that the BSA came down like a hammer on a small company just to make an example of it.

    Funny how this is the only small company, in twelve years, that features in this sort of discussion, isn’t it?

    As usual, Hamster, proper evidence, please. Not just frothing at the mouth.

    BSA auditors in countries like the USA are a law to themselves.

    Oh, really? Bang goes the Constitution, then.

  34. oiaohm says:

    Der Balrog and bw tell me where in the MS product packaging does it tell you that you have to keep the invoice then that that invoice has to have product key.

    Sorry stop saying he was in volition/cheating both of you.

    –Ernie was cheating, pure and simple. He says he was unaware, but if he was paying for some licenses, it is hard to believe that he was not aware that he had to pay for them all. —

    bw so you magically believe here that inventory miss counts don’t happen and lost invoices don’t happen. Worst is purchasing error where the invoice of the machine and it software failed to include product keys of the software.

    Exactly what evidence do you have that he cheated and was using software he did not pay for. Answer is nothing. We who know the BSA rules, all that software of Ernie could have been legally acquired just paperwork minor-ally not in order cause 65000 dollar fine.

    He was accused of being in volition but remember in every country that it has gone to court the requirement to have invoice has been over turned. USA go to court still lose it designed that way.

    Ernie Ball in Microsoft ads. bw the ads contain the quantities. I can dig it out. It is in my archive of stuff MS sent me. Lets just say Microsoft totally did not respect Ernie Ball privacy. The volumes in the Ernie Ball case was bugger all.

    Der Balrog
    –Who else is to blame, Pogson? If the licenses are not clear to a person, that person should call the vendor to clarify what is allowed and what is not allowed.–
    No you are wrong. If you call Microsoft they will tell you product sticker/box is enough. You must call the BSA to find out they only accept invoice with product key on it.

    Also you want this in writing. BSA will completely disregard paperwork from Microsoft. BSA auditors in countries like the USA are a law to themselves.

    In Australia were we can go to fair trading Microsoft rulings hold over BSA made up crap. Also we don’t have to pay BSA legal costs until they win. Where in the USA you have to pay BSA legal costs as you go before win or lose.

    Yes in Australia I have had a BSA audit ripped up for being bogus. Business had all the product stickers and everything else of the software. The invoices were lost in fire. If in USA company would have been paying huge fine with no option.

    bw sorry you don’t have to watch out for everyone that uses the BSA. Apple, IBM and Orcale you can talk to there legal departments about any issue you have with BSA. If it a case of like Missing invoices they will tell the BSA to F Off if you remembered to register products to company. Reason they maintain a full copy of the record themselves so as long as you register software your protected from the worst BSA stupidity with Apple, IBM and Orcale. In fact since IBM joined BSA there software comes out with a warning to register and sent out a notice to existing to get registration paperwork up to date. IBM and Oracle both accept the fact the BSA is party evil.

    Symantec, Intuit and Microsoft all don’t do purchase tracking of boxed sets. This now means you have lost invoice or wrongly formatted invoice you are screwed with BSA.

    bw. **All my stuff is legit.** I hope this means you can find every single invoice to the software from Microsoft and other BSA companies that don’t keep records you are using. Other wise by BSA rules its not legit unless the maker of the software says it is.

    Does the invoices you have for your software list the product keys?? No?? Ok BSA will not accept any of those invoices without product keys. Yes go into a mega store buy a boxed set of something keep the invoice and the BSA response is that is not the invoice for that box of software. Yes go to a mega store buy a few machines with MS Office and MS windows on the store does not record those product keys on invoice you are screwed by BSA rules.

    Finally bugger of bugger. Invoice is missing you go to your supplier get a reprint after the BSA audit has started that invoice does not count by BSA rules.

    So yes dw you might be legit now but are you sure a rat or something else will not eat an invoice. Some cases when MS was giving out 1000 dollars to people dob in a pirate the person dobing in had stolen the invoice. So your software invoices are under-lock and key right??? dw.

    Reality the odds that you are truly legit in the BSA eyes bw is basically zero unless you know the rules and have got the right invoices or product registrations to make up for missing invoices that MS does not provide. You will have purchasing errors.

    bw basically lumping everyone in who uses BSA in the same box shows you don’t know this topic. You did not have a clue what the problem is.

    Lack of record keeping by Microsoft and others put you at larger risk if something goes wrong with your internal records.

    Records do get damaged. IBM and Oracle are using the BSA but there usage is fair since they do provide the support to the law following customers to get BSA off back and not charge there customers anything if they are really doing nothing wrong.

    Yes MS not keeping records of boxed sets and letting customers hang with the BSA is another reason why I hate Microsoft.

  35. dougman wrote, “If you have a copy of Windows, without paying for it, then you are in violation.”

    That is not technically true. One is allowed to have a copy for backup on a server, but not on a client PC according to M$’s EULA. Copyright laws in some countries also countenance backups, otherwise you have paid for something and lose that value if the hard drive dies in a juvenile state. That is unreasonable practically and legally. The EULA does push the limits of the law as when it forbids suing M$ in court or seeks to limit the rights of parties without understanding the consequences. The EULA is a contract but only if both parties understand the consequences. That is a part of contract law. Further, if a minor does the unboxing and checks “I accept” it is not a contract because minors are not competent to make contracts. The EULA is partly a snow-job, best avoided.

  36. dougman says:

    Licenses and EULA aside, when you purchase M$ software, you as the user DO NOT OWN it. The cost that you pay for it, is the right to lease and use it.

    When you lease something, you do not own it.

    Licenses, grant you title to something, that normally would be illegal without it. If you have a copy of Windows, without paying for it, then you are in violation.

  37. Der Balrog wrote, “If the licenses are not clear to a person, that person should call the vendor to clarify what is allowed and what is not allowed.”

    A company like M$, with all its lawyers, can and should make a licence that is clear and unambiguous especially for consumers and small business folks who are more or less the same as consumers. Instead, M$ creates a licence that requires phone calls and meetings to sort out. Sorry, I don’t want to give M$’s salesmen the time of day. Time is money, remember? How much does M$ pay us to waste time trying to clean up their mess? This is a EULA that ordinary folks are required to click “I agree” with each unboxing. Isn’t that other OS supposed to work “right out of the box”?

    In my particular case, I had no phone in my office and would have to use a public phone for the conversation, difficult to say the least. Wasting time on the phone was not in my job-description.

  38. Der Balrog says:

    Der Balrog, blaming the customers […]

    Who else is to blame, Pogson? If the licenses are not clear to a person, that person should call the vendor to clarify what is allowed and what is not allowed. I know, it’s a daunting task.

    Let me give you an analogy: if I ride the subway without having bought a ticket because I couldn’t be bothered to check the tariff map or found it to be too complex, can I then expect to be let off the hook if a ticket inspector wants to see if I have a valid ticket?

    Little Ernie is angry because the BSA used him in their ads? Fine, let him be angry. But that doesn’t change the fact that Little Ernie violated license agreements. And then he has the audacity to try to make his alleged “mistreatment” into a scandal, instead of being humble.

  39. bw says:

    “bw the problem here is Ernie is telling the truth. This is why you are screwed going anywhere near this case. I can dig out the BSA documents over the case”

    I would wager that you could not “dig out BSA documents”. I am sure that such information is very confidential and not in the puplic view. That leaves us with the unsupported word of Ernie who is rightfully or wrongfully mad about the whole thing and not likely to be giving out with a fair and unbiased report. I do not understand why I would be “screwed” in any case. All my stuff is legit.

    “The issue that matters is that BSA used Ernie Ball in their ads and Ernie Ball was not amused”

    The one article cited discusses the notion that the BSA is using the occasional high profile case to scare the rest of the world into compliance voluntarily. That is a common strategy used by many companies, governments, and even individuals. “Pay me now or pay me later!” I’m sure you have seen it on TV. It works for selling oil changes and office suites equally. All the big software companies use the BSA, so it is not just Microsoft that you have to watch out for. IBM, Apple, Oracle, Symantec, Intuit, and just about everyone else in the business.

    Ernie was cheating, pure and simple. He says he was unaware, but if he was paying for some licenses, it is hard to believe that he was not aware that he had to pay for them all. He was just unlucky, like the guy whose number comes up randomly for an IRS compliance audit.

    “basically stop being a head in sand idiot”

    You do like your insults! I might also point out that you are obsessing with so many comments on this topic. Are you worried about your own compliance?

  40. oiaohm says:

    bw in Australia if you are missing invoice but can find the valid product key sticker/documentation due to our fair trading rulings BSA has to back off. BSA is required to prove the invoice does not exist not you show it existence.

    I expect in the up coming price debate with Microsoft and others they will try to say our laws are too favourable to pirates so we have to pay more.

  41. oiaohm says:

    bw in year 2000 installing MS Office pro instead of standard. Lets just say you have a mix of pro and standard licenses and you have mixed count up minorly. That is 1 infringing licenses programs at best that the BSA mostly will not do. At middle best 3. At worst 7.

    This is the lack of reason to BSA counting. At 7 the high number 34 is gone at 5 machines. Middle number a 6 machines you are well and truly in the middle at 18.

    bw the maths fit for Ernie Ball telling the truth.

    Could you please in future avoid wild guesses about BSA actions. bsadefense.com and others have how much the BSA will bill very well documented including how its random luck how big your bill will be.

    http://www.bsadefense.com/main/about-the-business-software-alliance-bsa-fines.aspx In fact 7 is more likely for a copy of MS Office Pro installed.

    The most evil part is this –Dated Proof of Purchase Required–. One of your staff goes to store buy boxed set of Office you don’t get invoice for it. It installed in your network. It is illegal by BSA rules. everything better have a date invoice clearly listing the item.

    bw basically stop being a head in sand idiot. Most business fail BSA audits because they think there software is legal yet they have a few boxed sets they don’t have invoices to.

  42. The issue at Ernie Ball is that not all PCs had the same software and some of the top guys and the number-crunchers needed the better/newer/faster machines rather than the clerks. So, they migrated older machines to the clerks without wiping the drives and installed software to the newer machines. That left unlicensed copies floating in the system. The clerks never used the stuff. No need to but it’s “Copyright” law that was violated. Probably the same goofus that did not “add/remove” the application informed on them.

    The issue that matters is that BSA used Ernie Ball in their ads and Ernie Ball was not amused. I wish more bosses were annoyed by the slowing down, re-re-reboots and malware enough to switch. M$ would be a shadow of its former self within a few months. One of the things I frequently hear from converts is “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”. Time is money, effort, worry, and sleepless nights when you are a customer of M$. I’ve never had much concern from GNU/Linux and FLOSS except the one incident of Debian botching SSH keys… The GPL has never given me any concern.

  43. oiaohm says:

    bw the problem here is Ernie is telling the truth. This is why you are screwed going anywhere near this case. I can dig out the BSA documents over the case.

    Now if you want cases with exact number of missing licensees and how much the BSA wants

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2001/0219piracy.html

    Start reading. 20 copies of Office and 25 copies of Windows $85000 So we are not talking about 72 machines worth of software to have to pay 65000 when the BSA are up you tail. So $1888 dollars a missing license.

    Then another company paid $215,000 for 36 missing licenses or 6000 dollars a missing license.

    So $65000 is somewhere between 34-11 Licenses. That does fit with 8 percent infringement or about 6 machines.

    bw I really don’t know how you would get 34 licenses on to 72 machines it does not work. Reality at worst under 50 percent of the machines could have had illegal software and that would have been only 1 piece per machine.

    34 can be by mistake installing MS Office pro instead of standard a few times. Remember in that case they count each extra application that is added between standard and pro as a license breach.

    Scary part is USA law allows if you go to court 150 000 an infringing copy no matter how much the software is worth. Yes breaking GPL in USA could land with 150 000 a copy you provided.

    Depending what mood your BSA inspector is in depends if MS office is counted as a package or it individual applications. 36 case MS Office was counted as individual applications.

    Sorry bw you are screwed trying to defend this anyone who know the topic knows what BSA billing looks like.

    All the stupid excuses you just attempted does not match BSA reality.

  44. Der Balrog, blaming the customers, wrote, “The IT department at Ernie’s is too stupid to comply with Microsoft’s licenses, and then they complain?”

    I tried to read M$’s EULA to figure out if I could use one disc image and the “authentication codes” for a mix of “Home” and “Pro” machines. Despite having an M.Sc. in nuclear physics and being a rational human being, I could not figure it out. It looked like I needed a disc image of each machine as a backup, something impossible to do with the storage I had available. It was a great relief to switch to GNU/Linux so I had not that complexity.
    Home EULA:” 1.3 Device Connections. You may permit a maximum of five (5) computers or other electronic devices (each a “Device”) to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize one or more of the following services of the Software: File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services, Internet Connection Sharing and telephony services. The five connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through “multiplexing” or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections. This five connection maximum does not apply to other uses of the Software, such as synchronizing data between a Device and the Workstation Computer, provided only one user uses, accesses, displays or runs the Software at any one time. This Section 1.3 does not grant you rights to access a Workstation Computer Session from any Device. A “Session” means any use of the Software that enables functionality similar to that available to an end user who is interacting with the Workstation Computer through any combination of input, output and display peripherals.

    Storage/Network Use. You may also store or install a copy of the Product on a storage device, such as a networkserver, used only to install or run the Product on your other Workstation Computers over an internal network;however, you must acquire and dedicate an additional license for each separate Workstation Computer on or from which the Product is installed, used, accessed, displayed or run. A license for the Product may not be shared or used concurrently on different Workstation Computers.

    TRANSFER–Internal. You may move the Product to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Product from the former Workstation Computer. Transfer to Third Party. The initial user of the Product may make a one-time transfer of the Product to another end user. The transfer has to include all component parts, media, printed materials, this EULA, and if applicable, the Certificate of Authenticity. “

    XP Pro EULA:“The Product may not be used by more than two (2) processors at any one time on any single Workstation Computer. You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a “Device”) to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize the services of the Product solely for File and Print services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The ten connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through “multiplexing” or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections. Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product’s user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.

    Storage/Network Use. You may also store or install a copy of the Product on a storage device, such as a network server, used only to install or run the Product on your other Workstation Computers over an internal network; however, you must acquire and dedicate an additional license for each separate Workstation Computer on or from which the Product is installed, used, accessed, displayed or run. A license for the Product may not be shared or used concurrently on different Workstation Computers.

    TRANSFER–Internal. You may move the Product to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Product from the former Workstation Computer.”

    M$ talk about “dependency Hell”. M$ has EULA Hell which is worse. It prevents use of the hardware. Imagine using that in a system of 40 PCs with a mix of “Home” and “Pro” and only client machines as servers. It was just not usable legally or logically. I spent days scouring M$’s site looking for clarity. Never found it. We even had stickers that were peeled off and without backup. The simplest/best solution was to pave over the whole mess which I did after a few weeks of struggling. I then doubled the number of clients and added a server with no additional problems of licensing thanks to the GPL which allows one to run, examine, modify and distribute the software. Simple. It was a no-brainer. The EULA alone is sufficient reason to migrate away from M$’s OS. Certainly buying a complete set of new machines and licences was out of the question.

  45. dougman says:

    Every company that I have touched, along some IT outfits, all dealt in pirated software in some manner.

    It’s rather stupid, considering the available options these days.

    I’ve been asked about software audits before in the past a few times.

    I always say if your running Linux, then send a formal letter explaining that you do not use any of the software products that they represent.

    The BSA | Business Software Alliance, a global software industry trade association, whose members include Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Autodesk, conducts copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members.

    If your using Windows, then use this methodology.

    The burden of proof is on the BSA to prove that you in fact are using the software. Unless you have installed and used the software, you have not agreed to the license. Therefore, unless you are using the software, the BSA has no right to audit you. Now, unless the apps you run have a “phone home” feature or use some other online key verification, there are only three ways for the BSA to prove that you are using the software: you can admit to using the software, you can let them come into your place of business and they can observe it, or they can file a lawsuit against you and force you to disclose it during discovery.

    If you neither confirm nor deny that you are using any particular piece of software and refuse to let them in, their only option for obtaining proof that they have the right to perform the audit in the first place is to go to court, file a suit, and perform discovery. Thus, unless their evidence is fairly strong, they’ll probably back down if the first thing that happens involves your lawyer telling their lawyer to bug off.

    If they do not back down, that’s a sure sign that you have some serious compliance problems, and you need to get somebody in there to audit all of your systems ASAP. The folks at BSADefense.com [bsadefense.com] recommend that you have an attorney conduct the audit. This places the results of the audit under attorney-client privilege, meaning that they cannot be obtained by the BSA during discovery.

    Get a lawyer and have him draft a letter requesting information on what they claimed was illegal. Then offer to show them the results of an internal audit, conducted by your lawyer and your own personnel.

    Offer to submit to a third party audit that BSA would have to pay for to cross-reference and verify.

    OR……Just use Linux and not worry about all that above garbage.

  46. oiaohm wrote, “I would call it justified upset at the charges”.

    I think the charges are small potatoes for Ernie Ball. The thing that really ticked the boss off was that BSA sent police and put the situation in advertisements. He felt abused for being M$’s customer. No one at M$ apologized for that before the migration.

  47. bw says:

    “That is over 10,000 per machine. If a machine has every current product if MS its not 10000 dollars per machine.”

    So Ernie is not telling the truth, eh? But that is human nature. He is using $65000 worth of pirated software on 72 machines and it is an honest “mistake”? Sure it is, Ernie, sure it is.

    It is easy to see from this story that Microsoft does not want pirates for customers. It is hard to see how Ball could have missed what was going on in his company, but maybe he was just an old string maker without a clue and was done in by his employees who loaded stuff willy-nilly as they saw fit.

    Now he has a Linux-smart IT guy to watch over his operations and keep the open source stuff running and up to date. Do you suppose it is the same guy that he had before the raid? I would doubt that.

    How much do you think they are paying that guy? Ernie had $65K worth of pirated stuff before, but such stuff is good for multiple years, so figure that in and you get some much smaller number, say $12K per year over 5 years. $12K savings isn’t going to pay that guy’s salary, I bet.

  48. oiaohm says:

    Der Balrog
    http://news.cnet.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html
    –But when (the BSA) went to Congress to get their powers, part of what they got is that I automatically have to pay their legal fees from day one.–

    In fact he was sure he had complied with Microsoft Licenses. USA law suxs. Not only do you have to pay to defend yourself but in this case you have to pay the BSA fees as well right way. Nice that the BSA is a shell company that if you win they can just fold and never pay you any of that money back. Also they can waste money expanding the bill like employing detectives todo nothing directly linked to the case.

    So once BSA accusing you right and wrong is out the window in the USA. Please note number of copies he was accused of stealing was only a small percentage of total software install. Please note accused. At half a million+ to fight and if you win you still lose that half a million. There is no victory.

    BSA fines have never been tested in court of law before a judge to see if there calculated extra costs above just paying the licenses are valid as well in the USA.

    Der Balrog BSA game in the USA is illegal in most countries. Falls under criminal offences that apply to protection rackets.

    –We were out of compliance I figure by about 8 percent (out of 72 desktops).–

    He even tell us how many. 6 machines approx out of 72. So his network was 92 percent compliant.

    –$65,000, plus $35,000 in legal fees.–

    Now 6 machines max we know this. That is over 10,000 per machine. If a machine has every current product if MS its not 10000 dollars per machine.

    Der Balrog human error could explain not licensing 6 machines.

    Really try to justify 10 000 dollars a seat even using 2000 figures.

    Would he kept on paying and paid if it was a reasonable process most likely yes. You cannot say the BSA process is fair.

    This kind of license breach if you do it to redhat even orcale they normally go hey you have oppssed here pay us what you would have and we call it even.

    Seriously 6 machines out of 72 is not what you find in a company intentionally not paying licenses.

    One I had here was where some machines lined up for being decommissioning had not had there hard-drives deleted yet and issue way that was is the machines were not stable enough to delete the harddrive. BSA in Australia was forced to back off that because it was unintentional and if they had turned up at a different time there was not a problem. The fact the machines did not run long enough to use the programs also made it non valid. Yes failed power-supply.

    Redhat and Orcale will never attempt to bill you for machines that a broken or are spares. Microsoft with the BSA will.

    Der Balrog I would call it justified upset at the charges. Of course minor out with decent response you normally fix the IT officers.

  49. Der Balrog says:

    Awesome! The IT department at Ernie’s is too stupid to comply with Microsoft’s licenses, and then they complain? Why didn’t he complain about his IT staff? Why didn’t he complain about the disgruntled employee who ratted him out?

    Once again a Mr. Pogson fairytale.

  50. Joe says:

    Awesome! More and more places are telling M$ to take a hike.

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