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Lifeisgreat (None)     29 September 2020

Pirated software compliance email from autodesk

Autodesk is found to send following emails

[quote]

I am part of the Software Asset Management program for Autodesk India Private Ltd. (“Autodesk”).

Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and owns the copyright to, amongst other software titles, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and Maya.

has been selected to undergo a Software Audit to evaluate the usage of Autodesk software and compliance with the relevant License Agreements. This written notification marks the official start of Autodesk’s audit engagement with .

Customers often ask whether they may uninstall or remove Autodesk software after receiving Autodesk’s written audit notification. However, such actions are not consistent with our customers’ legal agreement to fully cooperate with the Autodesk software audit.

From this point forward, therefore, we kindly ask you to refrain from deleting or removing any Autodesk software currently installed on  computers until the audit process is complete. We would also add that until the present audit engagement is finalized, any new procurement of Autodesk software by  will not be relevant in case the audit shows compliance issues that call for resolution.

As part of this process, you need to run the Autodesk Proprietary tool for self-review: https://autodesk.screenstepslive.com/m/88633/l/1117828-scanwin-installer. If you need support to run this tool or have a query, do reach us.

[/quote]

There is no illegal software installed in any of computer on premises, however they maintain that they have evidences of pirated software and threatening legal action in ambiguous manner. I mean they send sales partner stating that we want to buy license to settle piracy issue, then they involve legal firms in CC and emails just state that we want to settle issue of piracy etc.

Originally they said there are 2 illegal licenses, when we said we ca settle buying one they were willing, however they are not ready to answer my queries about their sales partner visiting our premises stating that they have information about pirated software running, then they are not replying. Also they are not willing to disclose any evidence of piracy. According to them, only Delhi HC has power to issue orders in IP laws and we have to hire Delhi lawyer if we choose to fight back. They also say that IP law give them right to search and cease computers on premises without any warrant / information etc.

They just keep on sending mail threatening legal actions if we do not buy 1 license they will escalate it to legal actions.

Please guide.



Learning

 5 Replies

Rama chary Rachakonda (Secunderabad/Highcourt practice watsapp no.9989324294 )     29 September 2020

You can give complaint through this portal to the police.Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (cybercrime.gov.in).

Adv Vinay Mathur + 8447131770 (Advocate)     29 September 2020

When they said there are 2 illegal licenses, You have agreed to settle buy 1 copy of Software as above, can you explain why you agreed when you haven't done any piracy.

Lifeisgreat (None)     29 September 2020

Originally posted by : Adv Vinay Mathur + 8447131770
When they said there are 2 illegal licenses, You have agreed to settle buy 1 copy of Software as above, can you explain why you agreed when you haven't done any piracy.

It was because, there was a call from legal compliance team and said according to IP laws, even if some one from out side has connected to your network and used pirated software, it is responsibility of IP address owner of particular time to comply to IP violations. We do had called free lance designer in past and was given access to our network.

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     30 September 2020

If you are innocent and not committed any violations, defend when they practically bring out a case against you.  If your company can afford to avoid legal problem, purchase the software legally.

Supinder Singh   30 March 2022

In my reply, I will refer to the Company that sent you the 'infringement notice' as 'AD', so kindly be mindful of that.

 

Responsibility of IP Address Owner

Copyright Act, 1957 does not specifically talk about any responsibility of the IP Address Owner to protect some 3rd party's copyright.

But, If you knowingly permitted the Freelance Designers to use Pirated Software on your premises for commercial purposes, then you could be liable under Section 51 (a) (ii) of the Copyright Act.

Regardless, to claim something of that sort seems far-fetched to me, as it would be pretty hard to prove that in a court of law. If need be, you can contend that the Freelancers were not your employees and were just Independent Contractors, so, you are not liable for their actions.

 

Jurisdiction of District Courts

According to Section 62 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1957, every suit or other civil proceeding relating to infringement of copyright in any work or the infringement of any other right has to be instituted in the district court. 

So, AD's claim that "only Delhi HC has the power to issue orders in IP laws" has no legal basis.

 

Offer to Buy 1 Licence

I see that you have agreed to buy 1 license from AD in consideration of a promise that they will not pursue legal proceedings. In my opinion, that may show your culpability and can be used against you in a court of law if they initiate infrignment proceedings. So, kindly beware of that and do not admit anything in your communications.

Furthermore, a contract in restraint of legal proceedings is void-ab-initio (See Section 28, Indian Contract Act, 1872). So, even if you buy the license, they may still initiate legal proceedings.

 

No right to search and cease computers on-premises without any warrant

AD will need to get an order from the court on the lines of an Anton Piller order if they wish to search and cease computers on your premises. Still, they will need your permission to enter your premises, as the aforesaid order (Anton Piller order) is never a search warrant.

But, if they somehow get the order from the court and you do not allow them to enter your premises, then you will be liable for contempt of court. Though if you disallow their entry, and they still enter forcefully, then they will be committing a tort of trespass. 

So, AD's claim that "IP law gives them right to search and cease computers on your premises without any warrant" has no legal basis.

 

The remedy available to you

Section 60 of the Copyright Act, 1957 provides a remedy in case of groundless threats of legal proceedings, in respect of an alleged infringement of the copyright.

You can institute a declaratory suit to get a declaration from the court that you have not infringed any of the legal rights of AD. Furthermore, you can obtain damages as well as an injunction against the continuance of such threats.


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