A real treasure for turning in software pirates

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) announced today that it has increased its cash incentive to $200,000 for information on software piracy that leads to an infringement settlement with software vendors.

The BSA began its rewards program last fall, then the first time the organization offered monetary rewards to informants in the U.S. The program has been so successful that BSA officials decided to quadruple the initial $50,000 offering and extend the program until April 15.

"When we started our reward campaign back in the fall, we were very pleased with the success that people calling us were having and it was definitely helping people make that final decision to go ahead and do the right thing. Many had been contemplating calling us for a long time," said Jenny Blank, BSA's director of enforcement. "We just decided that if some is good, more is better. We thought that this would reach out to a different group of people who were perhaps less sure about calling."

Since launching the program six months ago, the BSA has collected nearly 1,000 piracy leads nationwide. Blank said that even though the monetary reward has helped generate publicity for the program, many callers haven't been necessarily motivated by the money.

"Not everyone asks for the reward," Blank said. "They are not necessarily even seeking the reward. I think that is very interesting. It goes to show that people call for a lot of reasons, but what ultimately motivates them to pick up the phone really is the information that they have in their possession."

The BSA is an independent non-profit organization that is sponsored by leading software manufacturers. The money offered for the rewards comes from the BSA general fund, which is financed by vendor member dues and a percentage of the piracy settlements that the group generates.

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