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Back when the Business Software Alliance was formed in 1988, there were just six members: Ashton-Tate Inc.; Autodesk Inc.; Lotus Development Corp.; Aldus Inc.; WordPerfect Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Only Microsoft survived as an independent entity, but all six realized early on that piracy was one of the biggest challenges to marketing their products internationally. The trade group first focused its attention on Europe, which was busy harmonizing its laws in anticipation of the formation of the European Union. The alliance turned to a young lawyer, Bradford Smith, who had set up practice in the London office of Covington & Burling. “[Smith] convinced [the BSA] he understood what they needed in Europe,” says Evan Cox, the Covington partner who took over for Smith when he was lured away to become head of Microsoft’s European legal department in 1993. (Smith is now general counsel.) Smith and other Covington lawyers helped build a coalition of states to pass the European Software Directive, which brought harmony to copyright laws throughout Europe. States with more lax attitudes toward copyright were required to prosecute infringers. Armed with the new laws, Covington lawyers started targeting big companies for software piracy on behalf of the BSA. The partnership between the alliance and the firm deepened. Over the years, Covington coordinated thousands of raids in Europe, and when the BSA wanted to expand its Latin and South America program after launching its first campaigns in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in 1989 and 1992, it turned to Covington again. The Washington, D.C.-based firm has completed 400 raids on behalf of the alliance in Latin America to date. Cox, who now works out of Covington’s San Francisco office, says that Covington has fought hard to keep BSA’s business by remaining cost-effective. “We cycle in new blood. It’s work that can be done effectively by a junior-to-midlevel associate,” says Cox.

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