Firm: BSA may unintentionally encourage piracy

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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today came under fire for launching a U.K. anti-piracy program that appeals to disgruntled employees by offering generous financial incentives in exchange for anonymous tips reporting software license violations.

Recently, the organization announced that it is doubling potential reward money in the U.K. from £10,000, to up to £20,000 - an increase of nearly $18,600.

Robert J. Scott, managing partner for license consultancy firm Scott & Scott, said that offering large reward sums to informants only serves to damage the BSA's credibility.

"By offering generous financial rewards to disgruntled employees, Scott & Scott believes that the BSA actually incentivizes non-compliance to generate revenue, because in many instances, the informants are the very people responsible for software compliance at the companies they report," Scott said.

Further, Scott criticized the BSA for offering the promise of anonymity to any would-be informants. This policy, he said, potentially provides a safe-haven for employees to neglect their responsibilities and profit handsomely from it. Scott pointed to a recent poll commissioned by the BSA that found three-quarters of workers would consider reporting their company if they felt their boss had treated them unfairly, while a quarter said poor pay raises would also spur them to inform the BSA about their employer.

"These facts lead our firm to question whether the Business Software Alliance, an organization created and supported by software publishers to reduce software piracy, is actually encouraging piracy in order to generate additional revenue," said Scott.

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