15 Jul What is the BSA Software Alliance?
The BSA are a trade group sponsored by some of the leading technology firms in the world. Looking to oust all companies using counterfeit software.
You may have seen one of those jarring the adverts on Facebook, or perhaps you have received a letter from the organization itself. (If you have received a letter requiring an audit from BSA, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org – for advice). The BSA is an international software alliance, founded by Microsoft in 1989. They are a trade group that represents many of the leading software providers in the world including Adobe (the makers of Photoshop), Apple, Autodesk, Salesforce, Slack, and Norton among many other leading organizations.
Their work is split into two core parts: raising awareness about piracy and reclaiming lost revenue on behalf of its members.
Its principle activity is to stop copyright infringement of software produced by its members both by business and individuals. It is financed by some of the biggest software companies in the world through its membership and revenues generated through settlements from the companies and individuals it pursues. Currently, The BSA is working directly with the Thai government and monitoring thousands of Thai firms.
They have the power of attorney to act on behalf of their members – who are supported by the end user agreements which you have accepted by installing their software. They rely almost solely on whistleblowers and are recovering $10s of millions of dollars every year from businesses across the globe.
The BSA tallies all types of unlicensed software as being pirated – and therefore open to penalties – this includes knowing or unknowing installations, illegal rackets and teenagers copying their favorite games.
Fines and penalties vary by country but the costs can escalate fast: As a worst case situation: they take the retail value of the unlicensed product and then triple it as a fine. If you are an agency with 100 people working on cracked Adobe software that costs $200 a year – that’s 200 x 100 x 3= $60,000 maximum fine.
Points of note:
– Microsoft Corporation now includes clauses in their End user agreements (the ones you have agreed too) that by using their software you are agreeing to allow audits.
– Thailand makes for fertile pickings for the BSA It is estimated that 66% of all software in Thailand is not properly licensed.
– They are playing on disgruntled ex or current employees, running campaigns including “Bust Your Boss!” where you can report organization’s using unlicensed software for rewards.
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