For years the BSA, a group that represents the intellectual property interests of a number of software companies around the world, has been encouraging people to report their employers for using unlicensed software. Earlier this year they started offering informants part of the profits of a lawsuit or settlement, and apparently it’s working.
As reported over at TorrentFreak, the head of the Czech branch of the BSA says that the campaign yields 30 tips a month in the Czech Republic, and hundreds in the US, Canada, and in other countries. The BSA’s recently released annual report also claims that unlicensed software use has dropped slightly in the US and elsewhere.
At first glance this seems like a small win for the BSA, even if the response on social media has been less than positive. But I’m doubtful about whether this is the most effective approach to the problem in the long run. And while some might say that the BSA’s new report proves it’s doing that, it’s important to remember that the BSA has historically been criticized for getting creative with numbers. This paying employees to rat on their bosses strategy seems like a surefire way to encourage people to be more quiet about their piracy, rather than getting them to discuss its root causes.