US$1M reward for dobbing in pirates

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US$1M reward for dobbing in pirates

The US Business Software Alliance, an advocacy group representing major software manufacturers, has announced that it has raised its reward incentive for turning in suspected software pirates — from US$200,000 to up to US$1 million from July to October.

The organisation also launched a national advertising campaign urging employees to report software piracy suspects. Called "Blow the Whistle," the campaign will include radio and online advertisements in California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and Arizona.

The BSA said it has settled with hundreds of companies, recouping US$22 million, since launching its rewards program in 2005.

Software companies in the United States suffered US$7.3 billion in piracy losses in 2006, according to research from International Data Corps.

The BSA uses a sliding scale to determine the amount of reward money. To collect US$1 million, a settlement of US$15,000,000 must be reached, or a victimized company must pay that amount in damages.

Jenny Blank, director of enforcement for the BSA, said in a statement that the added incentive should help the organization cull more information on pirates.

"Reporting software piracy is the right thing to do, and BSA is pleased to reward individuals who come forward with credible information," she said. "BSA will diligently continue fighting software piracy, and we hope the rewards incentive goes a long way in helping us."

A BSA representative could not immediately be reached for comment today.

The announcement came a week after the US Justice Department (DOJ) announced guilty pleas of two men for selling pirated software purported to be from Rockwell Automation, a global vendor of automation, power, control and information software.

Robert Koster, of Jonesboro, Ark., and Yutaka Yamamoto, of Pico Rivera, Calif., both pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit software worth a combined retail value of almost $6 million, according to the DOJ.

Both defendants face up to five years in prison, a fine of US$250,000 and three years of supervised release. Koster and Yamamoto will be sentenced in November, according to the DOJ.

The BSA announced a similar reward boost last February, when it increased its cash incentive to US$200,000 from the US$50,000 it had offered since the program’s inception.

Individuals can learn more about the BSA Rewards program by visiting the organisation’s website or calling 1-888-NO-PIRACY.
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