The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world, have announced a partnership to educate nearly 100,000 small businesses on proper software management and the risks associated with the use of unlicensed software.
Coined "Software Strategies for Small Businesses," the multi-year partnership will provide small businesses and SBA resource partners - including SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business," Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers and SBA district offices - with a set of software asset management tools and educational materials that will help small businesses establish, communicate and enforce policies that ensure copyright compliance in the work force.
According to results of the "Software Management Survey," conducted by Yankelovich Partners for the Business Software Alliance, U.S. small businesses face the greatest risk for software piracy due to their lack of established software management practices. Furthermore, the study found that small businesses are less likely to recognize the benefits a software policy affords. According to the BSA, small businesses paid over $11.4 million in fines to settle software piracy claims in 2006 alone. An independent study, "Global Software Piracy Study," conducted by Interactive Data Corp. for the Business Software Alliance, shows that 21 percent of software in the United States is unlicensed. Last year, the United States lost $6.9 billion as a result of software piracy.
"Both the SBA and the BSA have a history of working with the small business community to help maximize business success," said SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston.
"This exceptional partnership with the BSA will help small businesses be smart about software use, and protect themselves against the risks of unlicensed software."
SBA and BSA's "Software Strategies for Small Businesses" partnership encompasses the following:
- Developing "best practices" publications that communicate guidelines for small businesses on implementing software asset management programs
- Producing and disseminating educational materials such as a guide to software management, "Ten Steps for Software Compliance" fact sheet, "Software Piracy and the Law" fact sheet and software audit tools
- Creating an interactive Web page to include free software audit tools, fact sheets, topical software management articles and above-mentioned educational materials
- Developing a software management article for placement in SBA's Small Business Success magazine
- Creating software asset management content for SBA e-newsletters
- Hosting an interactive Webinar with SBA and its resource partners
- Conducting an educational media outreach program to help promote this significant campaign
"BSA welcomes this unique opportunity to work with the SBA — one of the most influential advocates for small businesses in the United States," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA. "BSA strongly supports the success of small businesses and recognizes the vital role they play in the U.S. economy. This alliance allows BSA and the SBA to communicate proper software strategies that promote network security, and provide financial and legal benefits which are critical to the long-term success of any small business."
For more information about SBA and BSA's "Software Strategies for Small Businesses" partnership, please visit www.smartaboutsoftware.org.