When software publishers determine that a business has installed its software without a license, they typically demand that the business stop using the unauthorized software and usually demand that the business pay the publisher a penalty. The puzzling part of the monetary demand is figuring out where the publishers come up with these figures.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) typically applies a two-times or three-times multiple to the current suggested retail price of the most recent version of the software. What’s worse, even if a business settles at that amount, it still may not have proof of a valid license for the software. So the business will have to decide whether it wants to pay more money to purchase the license.

Other publishers’ demands can range from multiples of one and half times (1.5x) to more than three-times (3x+).  In some of these audits, software licenses are part of the final resolution. 

Businesses can benefit by consulting with an attorney familiar with software audits to help ensure that the final settlement with the publisher is reasonable.