I may have posted this before...but what the heck.

In 1987 I went to work for a large check-cashing company located in Irving,
Texas. My position as IT Manager also included the title Vice-President of
Information Systems. I was also expected to be a part-time programmer
supporting the JDE software running on their System/38.

I found out shortly after my employment began that my boss, the president of
the company, was the ultimate cheapskate and we had a bootleg copy of Lotus
1-2-3 (gotten from his brother-in-law) and one purchased copy of WordPerfect
installed on 20 company computers, the users of which I was expected to
support in addition to my duties as IT Manager.

At about the same time the Software Publishers Association (predecessor of
the Business Software Alliance) had begun suing companies for using bootleg
software - Motorola had just paid a one million dollar settlement in a
lawsuit brought against them by the SPA for having 10 bootleg copies of
Lotus 1-2-3.

As a shareholder in this private company, I felt it was my fiduciary
responsible to the other stockholders to take inventory of the software we
were using in order to make a recommendation to my boss about making the
necessary purchases to get legal with all of our PC software and protect the
company from an SPA lawsuit. To that end, I presented him with a memorandum
listing all of the PC's in the company, with a recommendation that we
purchase 20 copies of Lotus 1-2-3 and 19 copies of WordPerfect in order to
get legal.

He wrote "Don't worry about this" on the memo and sent it back to me.

I consulted an attorney friend and he indicated that I should take that memo
home and keep it in the event that the company was ever sued, because the
president's reply to my memo placed the responsibility on the company
president, not me, since 1) I didn't have the spending authority to buy the
software, and 2) I didn't install the software on the company computers.

I left that company shortly afterwards...with no regrets...and took 2
employees with me to start my consulting firm.

- sjl



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