The Tech Industry Talks Tough on Piracy

A trade group for tech companies wants to remind you that software gets pirated, too.
While most headlines have lately focused on the kind of piracy that takes place on the high seas, the Business Software Alliance launched a campaign Monday to draw attention to people selling illegal copies of its members’ products.

Nearly 40% of software is pirated, meaning that the person using it either copied it illegally or bought it from an unauthorized dealer, according to the BSA, whose members include Microsoft, Apple and IBM. The victims of software piracy aren’t just multibillion-dollar corporations that lose sales, says Dale Curtis, the alliance’s vice president of communications. Everyday citizens also may be recipients of pirated programs, and won’t receive technical support and updates for their software–or they might get versions infected with a virus.

Such campaigns are not new for the BSA. This time, the group is focusing on penalties faced by people who have been caught selling software illegally. One featured pirate on the BSA Web site, a 55-year old retiree from Georgia who was fined $250,000 for selling bogus software on eBay, says “having the judgment against me is the worst thing in the world that could happen to me.” A Florida man who was fined $4.1 million and sentenced to six years in prison says he is “very remorseful for what I did” and begs others not to do the same. “It’s not OK and you are going to get caught.”

Of course, it isn’t as dramatic a story as the hijacking of a U.S. container ship off the coast of Somalia, along with the daring rescue of its captain.

But don’t accuse the BSA of trying to ride the waves created by that story.

Curtis says that the BSA has been planning its campaign for weeks and that the timing is a coincidence. “I don’t if it helps us or hurts us,” he says, adding, “the two kinds of piracy really have nothing to do with one another.”

BY Ben Worthen

Copyright ©2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Copyright 2008-2009 Daily IT News | Contact Us