Having proffered carrots, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has come out
swinging sticks today.
The BSA has gone after five software pirates in Europe and the United States
that the group says were illegally selling software online. One was
operating in the United Kingdom, one in Austria, two in Germany and one in
In Germany, the BSA initially brought action against three Web sites accused
of offering copies of Adobe
software; in two of
those cases, courts issued preliminary injunctions and allowed BSA
representatives to search the site owners’ property for evidence of illegal
The BSA also filed a complaint in Austria against a third site
operating in Germany but headquartered in Austria.
In the U.K., the defendant is a Web site operator offering copies of
software, and the U.S. defendant is an
online seller in Pennsylvania which was operating 20 Web sites offering
copies of Adobe, McAfee
All the actions taken by the BSA were civil rather than criminal complaints,
but the organization has nonetheless been able to get swift results.
Jenny Blank, director of enforcement at BSA, told internetnews.com that
“all the sites have been taken down voluntarily when they saw the jig was
The BSA has tried several other tacks to reduce software piracy. One such
effort has been to try and educate governments in countries where piracy is
rife that they have more to
gain from protecting copyrights than from allowing an underground
economy to thrive.
Blank said this tack has been going well but “it’s a long-term process.”
These enforcement actions took place in areas of the world where piracy is
considered less damaging to U.S. software vendors than in Asia or Latin
America, but Blank said that the BSA will be taking action there too.
Moreover, “losses from piracy in other parts of the world [than Asia and
Latin America] are not trivial,” she said.
Last week, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen explained at an American Association of
Publishers conference that software vendors lose fully one-third of their
revenues to piracy, mostly the peer-to-peer variety.
He predicted that consumer education combined with the use of digital rights
management (DRM) technology will prove an effective technique for reducing
“The number one goal is to keep the basically honest person
honest, and that means putting DRM or some other technology in the product,”
The remarks were notable in light of recent comments by Apple CEO Steve Jobs to the effect that DRM needlessly
harmed legitimate consumers while failing to actually prevent piracy.
“Enforcement, education and DRM technology are things we all need to protect
our IP, despite what somebody like Steve Jobs thinks,” Chizen noted.