Telephone call on software Compliance from multiple companies selling popular software is no more secret as most of us attend the same followed by their mail like a legal notice and SAM audit or so-called Software Asset Management where in auditor in person visits you from REPUTED audit companies!
The whole software selling system works on fear or threat for something which is already residing on your machine knowingly or unknowingly (termed as pirated software) and most of the time you been caught unaware of non-compliance of software your hardware vendor did! & possibly he passed the information to software companies whose softwares he installed without updating you about the software compliance for hefty commission he might get! The point is you unknowingly fall under wrong side of a LAW! Or knowingly ignored the consequences of using pirated software.
Put it this way; what will happen if I let my unvaccinated dog out who bites anyone and every one he come across; and they have no choice but to buy rabies vaccine from me? Which law comes first that as a pet owner I did not took enough care to let my dog out or as a victim you have no choice but to buy rabies vaccine from dog owner?
I am no way encouraging or supporting piracy of software and no way with the people who are using pirated software with or without their knowledge; I am simply pointing to selling techniques on pretext of copyrights law; which in a way right as you did not considered / paid cost of software you are actually using! Or you were not aware of an alternative solution to it!
In case you already using pirated software and if you have received a compliance call or email; there's no way out but to buy it to avoid legal action against you as you are / were using software without paying for the same.
The other grey area is when you been noticed / caught using pirated software; you been forced to buy licenses for total number of machines you have; its immaterial if you are using particular software on all machines or not; this is mainly because your hardware vendor possibly copied all pirated software on all machines without considering need for the same.
This way you are paying penalty for crime you did as well as crime you have not done! Simply because as per copyrights law you have copied the software (No body ask developer what steps they took to prevent the copy)
Article goes endless and has no meaning if I am not discussing solutions to the problem; at the same time scope of article is not on legal side but more on software compliance side and finding free open source solution so you never fall under software compliance issue.
Most of the cases users are not aware of free yet very powerful open source software available as an alternate to the commercial software. Even if they are aware their other supporting software runs only on paid / commercial software.
If you feel cost of commercial software is worth the task of automating within your organisation you might never look for an alternate free open source option and will buy original software and keep up a list for software compliance. Though when you see use of commercial software becoming too complex and costly you must need to start learning about available alternateFREE open source options.
So refer an article Free Open-Source Software Solution for SMEs and make a list of software you need and see if free and open source option available; If yes go for it; if no procure licenses of commercial software which is MUST for your day-to-day operation.
The point is be a technical user who is aware of software compliance and keep a list of software you have installed on each machine which are either free open source or paid commercial software. If paid procure required licenses and keep a sticker on each machine with last four digit of serial number written and register software with the software developer.
This way you might never face a software compliance call , email or SAM and even if you do! You are as such ready! and this time on right side of a Law. Send them your customer ID as you registered all the software and if you are not using any commercial software you are anyway need not attend to their call!