back to article Snitching is less than golden for piracy informers

The SIIA (Software & Information Industry Association) calls it "whistleblowing." And we call it "disgruntled peons ratting on their bosses." But whatever label you use, dobbing on your own company for cutting corners on software licenses can be a lucrative sport. But not for seven American grasses paid up by the SIIA in March …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BSA Cash Cow

    My company pays the BSA several hundred pounds a year to get a promise that they won't audit or sue us over licencing inaccuracies. To me this is just legitimate racketeering, but the accountants hand over the cash.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    @ BSA Cash Cow

    Yup, my previous MD had a running with a BSA representative. Many heated words were exchanged, no chairs thrown im afraid to say, needless to say BSA rep ended up on his ass.

    The BSA are the ones legally rifling through your coat pockets.

  3. kain preacher


    Umm what right do they have to audit you?? They are not a law enforcement agency. Short of a court order how can they make you open your books up ??

  4. Anonymous Coward


    It's about time someone brought these software freetards to book. If they dodn't want to abide by capitalism's rules, then they shouldn't be allowed play with capitalism's products.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    £600 for a £60,000 tip off :(

  6. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    You trying to tell us the boy scouts of America are taking bribes? I don't belieeeeeve it!

    Wot no Victor Meldrew icon?

    I do believe that! Bloody Register.

    Wes M'Coat.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Kain

    kain asks a great question that has always bothered me too : the BSA are not a Government organization, exactly how can they force companies to open up to them?

    Paris because she's into being recorded opening up.

  8. Mad Hacker
    Dead Vulture

    And we call it "disgruntled peons ratting on their bosses."

    And we call it "disgruntled peons ratting on their bosses."

    Um, ok, you sound like the freetards you so violently hate lately. Otherwise you would condone any action that helps get workers paid for their efforts.

    You can't laugh at people cracking down on piracy by saying it sounds like "disgruntled peons ratting on their bosses." when on the same website you refer to people who have this attitude as freetards.

    It sounds like El Reg needs to do some soul searching and pick a side of the freetard/paytard fence.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: And we call it "disgruntled peons ratting on their bosses."

    Umm... SIIA trumpets this initiative as a success. It isn't. It calls its informants "whistleblowers", making them sound like are doing this for the public interest. They aren't. Revenge and pocket money are the main motivators, as any anti-piracy organisation will tell you.

    Should companies cheat on their software licences? No, they shouldn't. Should companies look for cheaper or free open-source alternatives? If it makes business sense, then they would be fool not to.

    Should people piggyback on copyleft and FOSS principles to claim unauthorised downloading of music or movies or software, as their birthright? Freeloading may be a rational activity, especially as the chances of being caught are remote. But elevating it into an "freetard" ideology is a different matter. Here we part company.

    The system is bust, the traditional copyright owners expect too much money, and deploy legal thugs to try to scare away freeloaders. We report and decry their excesses.

    However, we support the concept of copyright and of fair compensation for artists and software companies, who choose to charge for their work. What is "fair" compensation"? What business model(s) work? Can producers and consumers forge a new compact that satisfies most, if not all of us.

    We don't know the answers, but we want to find out.

    Fence sitting? I don't think so.


    El Reg

  10. Rob
    IT Angle

    @Mad Hacker

    Why do they need to pick sides? There are many different authors here at El Reg and one (wo)mans opinion may not be the same as the next.

    Besides, if you haven't worked out by now that the Reg takes the mick out of *everyone* then i'd go hide for a little while or you'll likely be next...

  11. Rob
    Thumb Up

    @ Drew

    Fair comment, old chap, but you missed one motivator. A significant proportion of reports come from for profit sellers of counterfeits, seeking to use anti-piracy organisations to eliminate (or at least inconvenience) the competition. It's not new, drug dealers have been grassing up competitors for years.

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge

    re Kain, Shemmel

    "the BSA are not a Government organization, exactly how can they force companies to open up to them?"

    Easy: If a company do not "volunteer", next time they sic the cops on it. Given that even a company that tries hard to stay clean probably has some dodgy license situations by accident or due to the laziness of staff, reporting a suspicion to the cops is not too risky for BSA.

    I guess the only kind of company that could safely tell BSA to go to hell is one that uses exclusively open source and in-house software...

  13. Danny

    RE BSA

    We get the bog standard letter every year asking if they can come and peek at our licenses. Every year they get told the same thing - sod off. They have no legal rights to demand anything, they cannot even get a court order to carry out the inspection unless there is a named witness who will verify in writing to the courts that you are using unlicensed software

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