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By | Kelly Fiveash 16th January 2009 12:30

BSA: Turn in workmates, make fat dollar a few quid

Offers rewards for software piracy snitchers

The Business Software Alliance is waving wads of cash in the faces of individuals willing to snitch on bosses and colleagues who use pirated software.

The trade group that represents the interest of multinational software firms such as Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec, coughed up a fairly conservative $136,100 last year in the US through its “Know It, Report It, Reward It” program.

Several Southern California companies settled software piracy cases after 42 individuals tipped off the BSA, it claimed yesterday.

Acorn Engineering of City of Industry, Miller Automotive of Van Nuys, Z Gallerie of Gardena and Western Power Products all settled with the BSA after being fingered by the tipsters, who collected an average reward of around $3,200.

Some of them refused to take any “blood money” from the BSA, apparently citing their “motivation as simply ‘to do the right thing’,” by reporting that their bosses and colleagues were allegedly guilty of using pirated software.

The group also reckoned that the current economic downturn could lead to an increase in software piracy among businesses in these cash-strapped times.

Perhaps that also represents another incentive for snitchers to turn in their workmates, especially seeing as they could be rewarded anything up to $1m by the BSA. A figure, we surmise that very few, if any, are actually likely to receive.

Cue a warning from the BSA about the perils of using unlicensed software. “When business is down and IT budgets are stretched thin, some managers may be tempted to cut corners, leading to increased use of unlicensed software in their businesses,” said the group’s veep of anti-piracy and general counsel Neil McBride.

“This is a terrible mistake because in the long run, companies stand to lose more money from being caught than they saved by installing unauthorised copies of software.” ®

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