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I received a letter from Autodesk asking for a "License Assessment". I understand it as a software audit. They plan to do it remotely.

The thing is, I'm a freelancer, I don't use any Software Asset Mangment software, and I just recently swap out my hard drive for a new one, and did a complete clean install, and then I received this request from Autodesk.

There is almost nothing on my hard drive now.

What do software auditors do when they experience this?

Will they (are they allowed) to contact my clients (that info is all over the web..) to get information since they found nothing here?

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migrated from superuser.com Nov 15 '11 at 8:44

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

    
I voted to migrate it to ServerFault, as this is more of a professional desktop support issue, and folks over there will have dealt with this stuff more often (I would think). –  techie007 Nov 14 '11 at 19:22
    
How do it move it? –  rosepost1150 Nov 14 '11 at 19:24
    
If 4 more people agree it should be there, it will be auto-magically moved. :) –  techie007 Nov 14 '11 at 19:57
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1 Answer 1

Your question is about what auditors do and a legal question about what they are allowed to do. It may be off-topic for superuser.com.

I don't know what AutoDesk will do, but they can only do what you agree to. When you install most software packages, they typically display a licence agreement and ask you to read it and agree to it. That agreement sets out what you have agreed to allow Autodesk to do.

Most likely, AutoCad has "phoned home" to register the new installation and AutoDesk have detected that your licence has already been used on a different computer. They just want to reassure themselves that you are not in breach of licence by using one licence on multiple computers.

Since anyone could write to you purporting to be Autodesk you are entitled to verify the validity of the letter independently - for example by looking up the support phone number for autodesk and phoning them (or emailing them) and asking for confirmation of the contents of the letter. You could also ask them what exactly they propose. If in doubt get legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

(updated:)

The outcome of an audit may depend, in part at least, on what happened to the drive you replaced, if someone else is now using it and can run your original installation of AutoCad then you could be deemed to be in breach of the licence.

If so, Autodesk might demand you purchase additional licences.

If you are unable to agree with them, Autodesk might terminate your licence agreement - you might then have to look for a replacement product.

The worst case is that AutoDesk might go to the courts and seek financial damages and/or punitive fines. I think this outcome is unlikely, but that is just my personal, non-legal opinion.

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3  
I second the notion of contacting Autodesk via phone to make sure that the email you have received is legit. –  Darius Nov 14 '11 at 18:38
    
yes, and it seems like in the EULA, it says Autodesk can really audit your computer. Any idea where this question should be directed if not superuser.com? –  rosepost1150 Nov 14 '11 at 18:42
    
@rosepost1150: Like we said earlier, it should be directed at Autodesk for a definitive answer. –  surfasb Nov 15 '11 at 0:28
    
@RedGrittyBrick, I don't think having your license terminated is the worst case, when the US regulations permit for fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range... –  Zoredache Nov 15 '11 at 1:02
    
@Zoredache: I'll update the answer. –  RedGrittyBrick Nov 15 '11 at 8:48
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