How does the BSA bust companies for pirating software?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Burk, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 31, 1999
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Castaic, CA
    Real Name:
    Jonathan Burk
    There have been a lot of commercials on the radio recently for the "Business Software Alliance". They're saying that until mid-November, businesses with unlicensed software on their computers can make good and not get penalized. After that, they face huge fines (they mention $150,000, per instance).
    My question is, how do they catch companies? I mean, how do they get access to the companies' computers, and under who's authority do they fine them? They would need a warrant to force themselves into an office, so do they work with law enforcement? Do the cops really care if Joe Accountant has an unlicensed copy of Word on his office computer? I can see law enforcement getting involved with the distribution side of things, and shutting down replicators and sellers of illegal stuff, but I can't see how nailing small businesses is going to stop the problem.
    Of course, the company I work for is way squeeky clean in this regard, so I'm just curious.
    http://www.bsatruce.com/
     
  2. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2000
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most of the reports I've seen have come from ex-employees. People get pissed off that that they were let go and call and report the company. That's based only on microsoft related busts that I know of. I don't know if that holds true for other types of violations.
    As for enforcement, it is breaking the law so of course law enforcement is involved. But it's not pulling some traffic cop off the street or a homicide detective off a case. There are task forces that deal with issues like this.
    And it is serious to get busted on this stuff, at least with microsoft stuff.
    brianca..
     
  3. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 1999
    Messages:
    2,862
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  4. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1998
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brian is 100% correct. It's mostly annoymous tips from disgruntled employees (including charities, non-profits, and schools). Most companies find it cheaper to simply buy new licenses once "summoned" by BSA-member companies than to perform a full audit of their system.
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

    Joined:
    May 3, 1999
    Messages:
    6,001
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the BSA came after me, I'd sue them immediately for fraud and harrassment, and I would absolutely refuse to do an audit, which would cost me money.
    If the BSA were the government, they wouldn't be able to get away with what they do.
     
  6. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1998
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I recall correctly, most EULAs have audit provisions in them that require you to submit to an audit. I'm certain Microsoft products have it at least.
     
  7. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 1999
    Messages:
    1,086
    Likes Received:
    0
    They pick a company. Any company. They send a letter saying 'pony up for an audit.' The company, quite rightly, says 'two fingers to the lot of you. We have work to do.' The BSA goes back to the gov't, says 'we have reason to believe...' and shows up at your door with an ARMED FEDERAL fucking AGENT, who says 'stand up, walk away from the keyboards' and you're let back into your office, three days or so later, to repair the damage.
    Here's a story gleaned from this Slashdot story .
     
  8. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 1999
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    0
    IMO, software has gotten so relatively cheap that it hardly pays to run unlicensed copies.
    We run a business out of our home and have no employees to rat on us, still, every piece of software we have is a puchased, licensed copy. Since it's all tax deductable, the actual out of pocket cost is low. And I can sleep better at night knowing it legal and I didn't steal from someone, something I'm morally opposed to.
    Deane
     
  9. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,205
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    Deane - They sound just like the ATF, but I won't get into that.
    I think this is why XP is coming out, but MS blew it with this one. I had always thought that if a company put one piece of MS software into 600 machines that sooner or later, MS would figure out that more than one user had the same IP address, and would thus 'flag' them for violations.
    But yes, disgruntled employees would be the first ones to do this. As for Deane's raid, maybe it was a competitor that did that. I think the real question is: Just how many companies are out there that don't realize that they need a copy for every user? Upper management might not have a clue.
    Glenn
     
  11. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 1998
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't understand the requirement to have more licenses than you have machines - this makes no sense at all - in fact, the last time I read a license agreement, I got the impression that you could install the same license of the software on more than one computer, as long as they weren't being used simultaneously. Photoshop and Quark will not launch if a copy with the same serial number is in use on the network.
    ------------------
    Zardoz Online | Burt Lancaster is The Swimmer | dOc
     

Share This Page