Paid Informants Being Used To Rat Out Software Pirates
Ryan Martin / 3 years ago
In an attempt to cut down on software piracy rates the Business Software Alliance (BSA) have taken a rather innovative move. The BSA represents Adobe, Apple and Microsoft and it uses Facebook and other social media avenues to recruit informants in return for cash tips. The basic explanation is that someone passes them a tip-off that a business they know (or even work for) is using pirated software, in return the BSA pays a cash reward if this tip-off allows them to levy a successful prosecution against the company using pirate software.
Despite the overwhelmingly negative response to the NoPiracy campaign on Facebook it has actually been successful. According to the figures the BSA branch in the Czech Republic receives around 30 leads per month. Similar BSA programs are also run in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia where they get numerous tip-offs every week. This has resulted in numerous prosecutions and some high-level cases. Apparently the snitch campaign is working well because in the Czech Republic pirate software is on the decline, falling from 37 to 34% in 2 years, while in the USA it has fallen from 19 to 18% in the same period. However, there is still much more to be made by companies like the BSA with the global cost of pirate software being $62.7 billion, if they can turn just a fraction of that into revenue for their clients then they will no doubt continue their snitch campaign with great enthusiasm.
What are your thoughts on this type of campaign? Is it a good idea?
Images courtesy of the Business Software Alliance (Facebook)