RealTime IT News

BSA Awards Software Piracy Bounties

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) awarded its first bounties Tuesday for individuals reporting companies involved in software privacy.

Three individuals received a combined total of $15,500 after their reports of software piracy led to BSA investigations and settlements.

The BSA, a trade association of software publishers, announced the program last year with offers of up to $200,000 to report organizational piracy. To date, the program has received more than 2,000 tips.

All three of Tuesday's reward recipients reported their employers after leaving their jobs.

According to the BSA, one of the recipients said, "I warned management that there were serious consequences to software piracy, but they didn't want to fix the problem -- they didn't think they'd get caught."

Another recipient reported that the piracy was taking place at multiple locations of her former employer.

"Piracy was taking place with upper management's knowledge, and that's just not right," said the former customer service representative.

The BSA launched investigations after receiving the piracy reports. After contacting the reported companies, settlements were ultimately reached, including payments and commitments to bring all software installations into licensing compliance.

"The success of BSA's Rewards Program is an exciting step forward in the fight against software piracy," Jenny Blank, BSA's director of enforcement, said in a statement.

"With the extra incentive the program provides, more and more people are doing the right thing and confidentially reporting software piracy."

According to IDC, 21 percent of software in the United States is unlicensed. In 2005, the BSA said the United States lost $6.9 billion as a result of software piracy.