FRAMINGHAM (06/27/2000) - Firing a warning shot at businesses that use software without paying for it, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) this week announced $2.4 million in software piracy settlements with 20 companies.
The individual settlements are being announced as part of the Washington-based vendor group's first annual, national Software Piracy Sweeps Week.
Bob Kruger, the BSA's vice president of enforcement, said that although similar settlements are made year-round, the group decided to announce 20 within one week to highlight the costs and prevalence of software piracy within businesses across the nation.
The 20 businesses stretch across 11 states and include a diverse mix of companies, from a vacation resort in Miami to a mortgage company in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Also included are a software developer in Herndon, Virginia, and an electronics and telecommunications manufacturer in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Kruger said his group estimates that workplace software piracy in the U.S. alone last year cost software vendors about $3.2 billion in lost revenue. The estimate does not include software piracy in home or home-office environments, he said.
The 20 companies had been reported to BSA's toll-free software piracy hotline at 888-NO-PIRACY and were investigated by the group. Some of the reports about software piracy come to BSA from disgruntled former employees, while others come from employees who are offended that their businesses are using software without paying for it, Kruger said.
"It isn't all that hard to find yourself the target of a BSA investigation," he said. "You're only one call away."
A BSA spokesman said that while the organization offers rewards to hotline tipsters in some countries, that's not the case in the U.S.
Kruger said the BSA computes its national estimates of software piracy around the world by conducting marketing surveys to compare the number of PCs and software applications within businesses to the number of PCs and software applications sold. If the number of applications on computers in workplaces is greater than the number of applications sold there, then the group attributes the difference to piracy.