How the BSA creates an army

Oct 06, 2016

The BSA, otherwise known as the Business Software Alliance, is a software industry organization that has an enforcement division charged with pursuing businesses that have allegedly stolen software. No business is safe from the BSAs army. It has been known to track down even the smallest of companies. When the risk of complying with the unwritten rules of compliance are discussed with small companies, a common reply is that “no one would care about us.” However, the BSA will hunt down a company with only a few computers if it believes that this has credible information of infringement.

How does the BSA get its information? Generally, the BSA obtains evidence from a business’s own employees. It builds an army of snitches across the globe by advertising rewards to anyone who reports violations of using unlicensed software. The ads can be shameless using phrases like ““Your pot of gold is right here baby,” and “Report unlicensed software and GET PAID.” The whistleblower ads can be found on the radio, Facebook, and across the internet encouraging people to make a report for cash. The report form can be found on the BSA website at

The use unlicensed software is illegal, and there are other moral and technical reasons why unlicensed software should not be used. Nevertheless, the methods used by the BSA to create its army and to prove infringement can be unscrupulous. For example, companies that provide the box that the software came in when it was purchased, even if it has the product key sticker inside, will not be enough to satisfy the BSA or stop them from pursuing legal action.

In the event a company receives a letter from the BSA demanding a proof of non-infringement, it can be helpful to seek the advice of an attorney with experience in negotiating with the BSA.


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