Using pirated software or abusing your software licenses for your business is no joke. But whose fault is it and who gets punished if your business gets caught? Many software companies, in an attempt to protect their products, actually end up rewarding the guilty.

OK, nobody should use pirated software, but some of the tactics used to combat this piracy are downright nasty. This is especially true when we consider the kinds of activities that one particular company engages in.

Questionable Tactics

The Business Software Alliance is an international advocacy group for the proper licensing of business-centric software solutions, with a member list that includes IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Trend Micro, and many others. The organization, according to their website, “pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.”

That’s fair and good, if it weren’t for the tactics that BSA has used to “promote legal software use.” Pirated software is BSA’s main target, and they work to make any business found with any unlicensed software installed pay, and pay a lot.

Bribery and Social Media Guerilla Marketing

BSA targets businesses under suspicion of having unlicensed software in use by targeting their employees through social media ads. A now apparent defunct Facebook page for a campaign run by BSA promised users a cash bounty in exchange for turning in their employer for software piracy.

Who knows better than employees whether an employer is running unlicensed software? BSA ran ads such as “Nail your boss. Report Software Piracy” before changing to a more covert approach through targeted social media efforts.

Benedict Benefits…Or Not

The bounties offered to whistleblowers were scaled to the value of the settlement that the reported company would have to pay BSA. If the company had to pay anywhere between $15,000 to $100,000, the whistleblower could receive up to $5,000. A payout of over $15,000,000 could generate a $1,000,000 payout. However, BSA “reserves the right to deviate from that schedule in its sole discretion.” Or, in other words, maybe not.

It’s Your Problem

Ultimately, if you’re using unlicensed software and your employee knows about it, they can turn you in. And if you’re caught with unlicensed software installed on your system, you’re the one responsible, not the employee who installed it.

The same is true if an employee installs the same software license on multiple devices. If that employee were to become disgruntled, they could report you for it, even though they put it on your system.

Stay Compliant!

If you’re using unlicensed technology or software, you’re setting yourself up for all kinds of pain, from legal charges to customer distrust.

Quikteks Tech Support can go through your software and make sure you are properly licensed for everything you are using. Get yourself compliant and out of harm’s way. Call us at (973) 882-4644 to schedule a free IT evaluation.

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