For a business, keeping accurate records of purchases is a standard and obviously necessary practice. When it comes to the purchase of software, the practice is doubly important. A company which has bought licensed software may need to prove the legitimacy of that licence at some point in the future.
The Business Software Alliance, or BSA, is a consortium of major software providers such as Microsoft and Adobe. The group encourages members of the public to report any possible instances of software piracy and in some cases offers cash rewards. If a company is suspected of using software that is unauthorised, they are contacted by the BSA, who will then often demand the company do a self-audit to uncover any possible licence infringements. Depending on the results, there could be settlements that have to be paid.
The law states that is a company’s responsibility to prove that it has a legitimate software licence from whoever the copyright holder may be. This remains the case even after standard retention periods for records and receipts have expired. For peace of mind, it is a good idea to keep any records which relate to software licence purchases permanently on file, as copyright can last in excess of 100 years. It is better to be safe than sorry.