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Million Dollar Reward For Piracy Reports

Do you work for a business that’s pirating software for its own internal use? If so, you could be in for a windfall if you report it to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in time.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the global organization representing the nation’s leading software manufacturers, today announced that it will intensify efforts to battle software piracy in the workplace by increasing its current rewards incentive from $200,000 to $1 million from July to October 2007.

This unprecedented increase by the BSA highlights the software organization’s commitment to fighting software piracy in U.S. businesses. According to an independent study conducted by the International Data Corps. (IDC), the information technology (IT) industry’s leading global market research and forecasting firm, the U.S. suffered $7.3 billion in losses in 2006 resulting from software piracy.

The BSA Rewards program was launched in the U.S. in the fall of 2005. The program encourages individuals with detailed information about software piracy to come forward and confidentially submit the infringement(s).  Since the 2005 launch of the Rewards program, BSA has successfully settled with hundreds of companies, bringing in nearly $22 million as a result.

Concurrent with the Rewards announcement, BSA is launching “Blow the Whistle,” a national advertising campaign that encourages employees to report software piracy.  “Blow the Whistle” will commence in July with national radio and online advertisements.  Throughout the year, BSA will target efforts in states including California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and Arizona.

“Reporting software piracy is the right thing to do and BSA is pleased to reward individuals who come forward with credible information,” said Jenny Blank, Director of Enforcement for BSA.  “BSA will diligently continue fighting software piracy and we hope the Rewards incentive goes a long way in helping us,” continued Blank.  “Businesses often have a million excuses for having unlicensed software on office computers.  BSA is now offering up to a million dollars for employees who turn them in.”

Individuals can learn more about the BSA Rewards program or submit a confidential report by visiting www.bsa.org or calling 1-888 NO PIRACY.  Reward payments are subject to eligibility requirements, the details of which are available on the BSA Web site. Businesses trying to determine whether their organization is using unlicensed software can download the free software audit tools at www.bsaaudit.com.

A “Million” Excuses

Businesses often fail to recognize the importance of software management and hence find themselves exposed to financial, security and liability risks.  A “million” excuses will not protect a company if caught with unlicensed software.  Examples include:

  • Current or former employee installed the software without permission; was tasked with attending to compliance but did not, or copies were installed by the terminated employee;
  • Business grew too quickly, the company could not focus on licensing;
  • Software copies were installed on office computers but were not in actual use;
  • Business is in negotiation for licenses but does not currently have them in place;
  • Poor management by the IT department; and
  • Outside IT company failed to manage licensing.

A “Million” Reasons for Compliance

While BSA believes most businesses are ethical, not all understand that good corporate governance means a good system of checks and balances throughout the organization to ensure ethical and legal operations.   Employing a software asset management (SAM) program has far reaching benefits for a business including:

  • Offers significant cost savings, not only in direct expenditure on software, but also in related process and infrastructure costs;
  • Provides companies in a stronger negotiating position with software manufacturers and improves software purchasing arrangements;
  • Enables more strategic infrastructure planning;
  • Prevents over-licensing and identifies over-deployment of hardware while reducing the IT administrative and support burden with its associated costs; and
  • Allows the IT department to control exactly what software an employee has access to and significantly reduces the opportunity for users to introduce unlicensed software to your network.

Software piracy is against the law and affects thousands of businesses nationwide, costing millions of dollars in tax revenues and lost jobs.  It can result in fines of up to $150,000 for each software title copied and increases the risk for security and technical complications.  An independent study* shows that 21 percent of software in the United States is unlicensed.

Source:→ BSA Press Release

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