Autodesk inquires about illegal licenses


I've recently received a letter of inquiry from Autodesk regarding use of illegally copied versions of Autocad. Has anyone else had the same experience and what have you done about it? What were the results of the inquiry?

May 16, 14 9:16 am

are you using illegally copied versions of autocad?

May 16, 14 9:46 am

If you're not using illegal or unlicensed software then you have nothing to worry about...

I'm guessing that since you are asking, you might be using illegal or unlicensed software...



Good Luck?

May 16, 14 10:22 am

You buy that copy from a guy in a black trench coat, black pants, and a black  turtle neck? Did it come in a ziplock bag with a ounce of Mary Jane?

May 16, 14 8:25 pm

no, I haven't because I've always paid for my copy legally or used an educational license

May 16, 14 8:38 pm

They also track IP addresses on traffic addressing this issue. Not that they have to, since they already know where you live.

Here's a question: if it's an illegal license, do you have to abide by the end-user agreement?

Nice first post. 

May 16, 14 8:42 pm
Snook, those clothes describe most of us here...
May 16, 14 8:52 pm

Look at everyone being all sanctimonious and shit here. As if all of you guys make enough to buy 7000$ softwares (lol).

May 16, 14 8:59 pm
boy in a well

pssh, only an ounce . . .

May 17, 14 12:52 am

No one is putting a gun to his ( or your) head and forcing you to use a $5000+ software package from AutoCad. 


Plenty of firms do great work on SketchUp and Rhino + Plugins or even simple 2D AutoCAD Lt, none of which cost more than $1000. If you were a student, it you may get some sympathy - especially back in the day, there was not always a student version available. You, however, are a professional and have no excuse.

May 17, 14 12:57 am
boy in a well


anyone else get one of these mystery letters?

Do tell!

May 17, 14 1:20 am

There is a software bootlegger in every office.

May 19, 14 1:11 pm

HE or She is also the staff member who belongs to a bowling league.

May 19, 14 1:11 pm

i've had licenses go bad, and autodesk products that my office paid for quit working.  (it didn't go bad because we quit paying, rather it was just something got messed up when they were transitioning to a new system or something screwy).  i may or may not have resorted to alternative methods of license authentication to keep the office running.  if they put half the effort into the actual program that they put into DRM, it might actually be worth what they charge.

i have never received a letter from them.  i'm not passing judgement as to whether you did or did not circumvent their licensing restrictions.  i could care less.  it does seem relevant to the question you're asking though.

May 19, 14 2:30 pm

This could be a big deal. A small office I used to work at ended up settling with autodesk and paying them something like $30,000 to avoid formal legal troubles plus the additional amount it cost to purchase legitimate copies of their software.   

May 19, 14 7:13 pm

Ages ago, I got a similar threatening letter.  But it turned out to be more of a scam sort of thing from some vendor trying to sell us more licenses.  They wanted to come out and 'inventory' then offer to 'bring us into compliance' by selling us copies at marked up cost to 'avoid' litigation. 

Since we're more than legal, we sniffed it out rather fast and reported it to Autodesk.  Don't know what became of it though.. basically, call Autodesk by looking up their number instead of calling the toll free number on the letter to verify whether it's 'official' or not.  We also get threats like this regularly like our 'google listing', 'yellow pages', 'web hosting', 'magazine subscriptions', etc. are going to be invalidated if we don't respond immediately...  Seems to be a regular marketing ploy to make it seem like it's a legal matter and use scare tactics. 

Basically, don't trust that it's really Autodesk.  If it is.... you might be in trouble because I seldom hear of them actually pursuing anyone unless they are seriously illegal. 

May 20, 14 2:08 pm

It seems like NCARB holds you hostage until you're licensed to practice.  Then when you're practicing, AutoDesk takes over the bridle and shakes you down.  "New Version!" -ugh.

30,000 to "avoid legal troubles" - then they "allow" them to purchase legal copies.  Sounds like an offer you can't refuse.

May 20, 14 2:22 pm

If I remember correctly to autodesk's credit they allowed the payment of the $30,000 fee to be in installments over time.........

May 20, 14 8:43 pm
radical element

I just received a similar email which stated I had ten days in which to comply. When I called the Autodesk Software management representative number, a young lady came on the line and said that once I registered, my computer would be scanned to confirm compliance with an Autodesk terms and conditions that I supposedly signed. I asked her when I signed it, she could not say. She did say that  it was probably in the verbiage that one agrees to when installing the software.

So I indicated that I had a stand alone 2014 LT version which I ordered on-line from Autodesk. Therefore, why should I submit myself to an "audit". She said it's very simple and she would send me the short "one page" version of the audit procedure instead of the 17-page version that is on-line.

She sent me that one-page version and asked me to download a zipped file that would scan my computer. I'm thinking, "What the Hell?" She then said I should send her a "PIA" file after the scann took place and she would finish the registration for me.

They have a record of me purchasing the standalone software, otherwise, why would they email me. Why would they want to scan my computer, other than to see if I had any other unlicensed Autodesk software.  

It seems overly intrusive and I don't want some damn unknown program scanning my computer.

I asked her what would happen if I declined to undergo a software review. She indicated that I would then receive a formal letter requesting that I comply with their request.

At that point, I realized that if this was truly an Autodesk request, then they have a terrible customer relations program. Why would you hound your known customers? 

I went straight to Autodesk and searched for "software review" on their main menu. Nothing came up.

I'm not going to allow an unknown scan of my computer, mainly because I have personal and sensitive information on my laptop.

I'll let them send me a letter. Then I will report them to the Attorney General of their home state and of my state as well. 

Jun 2, 17 1:43 pm
radical element

"9.7 Audits. Licensee agrees that Autodesk has the right to require an audit (electronic or otherwise) of the Autodesk Materials and the Installation thereof and Access thereto. As part of any such audit, Autodesk or its authorized representative will have the right, on fifteen (15) days’ prior notice to Licensee, to inspect Licensee’s records, systems and facilities, including machine IDs, serial numbers and related information, to verify Licensee’s Installation of and Access to the Autodesk Materials. Additionally, within fifteen (15) days of the audit request, Licensee will provide to Autodesk all records and information requested by Autodesk in order to verify Licensee’s Installation of and Access to the Autodesk Materials. Licensee will provide full cooperation to enable any such audit. If Autodesk determines that Licensee’s Installation of or Access to the Autodesk Materials is not in conformity with the applicable agreements or terms of service, Licensee will obtain immediately and pay for valid license(s) to bring Licensee’s Installation and Access into compliance and pay the reasonable costs of the audit. In addition to such payment rights, Autodesk reserves the right to seek any other remedies available at law or in equity."


This is Autodesk's T&C regarding Audits. It appears that they are fishing for unlicensed copies on existing customers computers. What a horrible customer service policy......!

I guess I'll have no choice but to "comply", or be subject to legal action on their part......what utter BS.....!

I purchased their damn product for my business and now they are forcing me to submit to a scan of my computer. Come on, how despicable is that? I will never buy another product from these bastards ever again.

Jun 2, 17 1:59 pm

What do you expect? Autodesk like any other software company or any intellectual property rights owners are legally required to proactively take legal actions against those who violates their IP rights which includes the customers of the pirates. If you use an illegal copy of the product, you are a violator as well. If they don't do this, they can lose their protections under the federal courts. You can't just pay for the IP rights protections. You have to take proactive steps in protecting and defending it. The federal courts has held multiple times that if you don't take your IP rights seriously enough to protect and defend them, why should the courts. All software companies have policies and will pursue all parties connected to the syndicate of "software piracy". If any don't, they might as well close their doors.

You're an adult, you knew what you were doing. You all do. It's not like you accidentally downloaded a pirated license key or otherwise. It isn't like the pirates don't tell you. Pleading ignorance doesn't float.


ArchiCAD is a great software. Very reasonable company too.

Jun 2, 17 4:56 pm

I'm trying it out next month. Is is better or worse than Revit?

Does it make the project look hideous like Revit does?


It is different. I like the integration with rhino. It was created for architecture.
is built on a garbage software kernel pulled from a solid modeler.


*Revit, (is built on a garbage kernel...)

I use rhino a lot so that sounds promising

radical element

Thanks. I'll keep ArchiCAD in mind for my next upgrade.

Although being a civil engineer with a specialty in dam design, it may not be as handy as AutoCAD for my purposes.

Jun 2, 17 6:28 pm

I wonder how much of your computer would they be able to scan using that file?

Jun 3, 17 11:10 am

As much as they can


Up to the whole computer given the typical setup you are likely to have.

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