Thursday, April 17, 2008

$1 Million Reward to Qualified Reports of Internet Piracy

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is expanding its $1 million rewards program to include those that report the sale of illegal software over the Internet, such as in the case of auctions of unlicensed software. In conjunction with the expansion of the BSA Rewards Program to further intensify efforts to crack down on illegal software use, BSA is also announcing its first quarter reward payout information. BSA announced that a total of $58,000 in reward money has been paid during the first quarter of 2008 to 14 individuals who provided credible reports of software piracy to the organization.

Despite the popularity of the rewards program, people also report piracy for other reasons, according to BSA. Neil MacBride, BSA's Vice President of Anti-Piracy and General Counsel stated "While the reward provides an incentive, many people might be surprised to learn that nearly 50 percent of individuals reporting piracy to BSA do not opt in to the reward program." Research conducted by the organization has revealed that there is a strong ethical driver at work when people report software piracy. "The existence of the rewards program drives strong awareness on behalf of the general public, but we find that many of our reports of software piracy come from those who recognize and respect the importance of intellectual property regarding business software."

Of those that received rewards this year, 93 percent reported the illegal software use in their current or former workplaces via BSA's online reporting form, http://www.nopiracy.com/, with the remaining submitting a report via BSA's toll free hotline at 1-888-NO PIRACY.

BSA first launched its rewards program in 2005 to encourage individuals with detailed information about software piracy to come forward and confidentially submit the infringement(s). In 2007, BSA increased its rewards incentive from $200,000 to $1 million. BSA will continue to offer this $1 million incentive throughout 2008.

BSA has now decided to extend the $1 million reward offering beyond those individuals who report software piracy in the workplace. Now, the program will include individuals who provide information about those who participate in the selling of unlicensed software over the Internet.

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