BSA Offers Facebook Users Cash If They Rat On Software Pirates

The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is offering hard cash to Facebook users who report businesses that use unlicensed software. The anti-piracy group is running an ad-campaign luring people with the prospect of a "free" ski-trip.

nopiracyAll the major software companies see piracy as a massive problem. Unlike the music and movie industries, however, they tend to focus their legal action more on the business side than on individual consumers.

Over the past two decades the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has represented major software companies, including Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec, in their fight against under-licensed businesses.

This has resulted in raids on various companies, whose computers are often confiscated on the spot if the business owner fails to pay his or her dues. Some have described these practices as mafia-like, but the BSA believes they’re needed to stamp out piracy.

Recently, the BSA has upped the ante as they are now soliciting tips from the public about potentially infringing companies. While input from the public was always welcome, it’s the supporting PR-campaign that raises eyebrows.

The BSA is currently running an ad campaign on Facebook encouraging people to report piracy in return for a healthy reward. The example below shows how the group is trying to lure snitches with a ski-vacation.

BSA’s report piracy ad on FacebookBSA-pirate

Those who click through to the campaign website and read the fine print will find out that BSA is not really offering a vacation. They do however, promise to send tipsters a cut of an eventual settlement they receive when they choose to pursue a lead in court.

This reward could reach $5000 for a settlement of $15,000 or a massive $200,000 for a single tip if BSA gets a settlement of over $3 million. The rewards in question are targeted at users from various countries, including the US, Australia, Canada and China.

To show people how easy it is to become an anti-piracy reporter the BSA also lists an audio interview with an informant on their site.

“I feel great [about reporting piracy] because it’s wrong for businesses to do stuff like that. I would do it again no matter what. It was very easy to report, you have nothing to worry about,” the informant says.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

Here at TorrentFreak we appreciate a nice vacation as well, so hereby we rat out the U.S. military for running unlicensed copies of Windows 7. We’re looking forward to our reward…

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