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Piracy Whistleblowers Paid $57K In 2010

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the fueled-by-revenge dept.

Piracy 141

alphadogg writes "In 2010, the Software and Information Industry Association received 157 reports of alleged corporate end user software piracy. Of the 157 reports, 42 (or 27%) were judged sufficiently reliable to pursue. Of these, 16 qualified for rewards totaling $57,500. The profile of sources reporting software piracy indicates that most reports come from former IT staff – these are the people who typically witness the illegal use of software. 75% of all reports come from IT staff or managers, 11% from the company's senior management and 4% from outside consultants. More than 59% of those reporting are no longer employed by the target company. In fact, many of SIIA's sources report that their primary reason for leaving the target company was the company's lack of ethical behavior related to software compliance."

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141 comments

FIRED. (1)

Airdorn (1094879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191348)

100% sour grapes.

Re:FIRED. (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192030)

If you give monkeys poo, they'll throw it.

Better to be honest, and then those you piss off wont be able to drop you in it. It's not like anyone should be running a business thinking, I'll defraud a few companies and I'll get away with it because all my employees love me and it will be that way forever! ;)

Re:FIRED. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193180)

BULLSHIT Airdorn. Have you ever been in some of these shops? Let me tell you how it works: They expect YOU to spend all day installing hot software which they will then blame YOU if anybody catches them on it. Does it seem like there is any upside for YOU? Nope, not a bit.

Hell I even had an interview that went like this: Owner "It says here you know how to setup Windows and Linux servers, is that right?" Me- yes sir not a problem. Owner "Can you set up a Windows machine so it updates from our server instead of Windows Update?" Me-Why would you want to do that? Owner "So we can use this with all our clients and field offices" and then plops out a "Razor1911 Vista Ultimate all version no activation" DVD on the desk. Needless to say I just laughed and walked away, but what about the guy who has no choice but to take the job because he is hurting for work?

So don't be pushing that sour grapes bullshit because a lot of these guys don't want to be pushing illegal software but are told "Do this or walk" by their bosses. Hell there was about 3 years there where damned near every office machine that crossed my desk all had the exact same key which was the "Razor1911 XP Pro SP2" serial key. The reason? Because there were a ton of PHBs in middle management and owners of SMBs that wanted free upgrades for the Win2K boxes they had.

So don't make this out to be some disgruntled employee, because I bet if you were to check back with them a lot quit over hot software in the first place. Or do you think it is okay to steal, as long as it is from companies you don't like?

FTW! (3, Funny)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191356)

In fact, many of SIIA's sources report that their primary reason for leaving the target company was the company's lack of ethical behavior related to software compliance.

It's a shock what people lose sleep over in this day and age.

Re:FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191376)

Considering that most of them could have ended up taking the brunt of the legal issues based on this, not surprised.

Re:FTW! (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191494)

When you are in a company that forces you to write DRMs, but that shamelessly pirate other softwares or integrate GPL code without mentioning it, I can see why employees would report them.

Re:FTW! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191648)

Yes.

Companies that engage in the unethical behavior, or encourage their employees to be complicit without concern shouldn't be surprised when that behavior is taken against employees results in revenge via the money factor.

Of all the companies I've worked for, the largest ones kept a relative control on software piracy, however not everyone engages in ethical actions.

For example a call center outsourcer, the management tried to steal software written by an employee, and when the employee refused, he quit and threatened to sue them. The thing is I had the source code to it, and the company then tried to pull that on me, but then one day they decided to delete it, and all code, pieces and to know who has copies of it.

In the case with (largest auction company) I wrote something from scratch, and they didn't try to seize the software at all. Quite the opposite, I was let go without anyone asking for the source code. So my guess is that the software was abandoned. The company does admit to taking ownership of other employees (those not working in a coding responsibility) software, and the employment contact grants license to anything invented while employed.

Both companies made extensive use of Citrix servers and virtually unlimited copies of MS Office, Seibel (as CRM,) and in-house written tools (some by actual programmers, and some by customer support reps.)

But I can tell you with absolute certainty that past a certain point, large companies don't keep track of individual licenses, they just buy bulk site licenses (not physical copies) and some IT staff ignore the license (much like everyone ignores license agreements) and are only aware of software that they can audit. This results devices like laptops not being accounted, and when staff are fired/quit they don't "return the license." So in some cases the IT staff actually are over-purchasing licenses for software just so they don't have to deal with the BSA.

Re:FTW! (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191812)

So in some cases the IT staff actually are over-purchasing licenses for software just so they don't have to deal with the BSA.

And that's the whole point. Sow mistrust, such that buying extra stuff from their clients makes better sense than fighting back.

Re:FTW! (2)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192080)

But I can tell you with absolute certainty that past a certain point, large companies don't keep track of individual licenses, they just buy bulk site licenses (not physical copies) and some IT staff ignore the license (much like everyone ignores license agreements) and are only aware of software that they can audit. This results devices like laptops not being accounted, and when staff are fired/quit they don't "return the license." So in some cases the IT staff actually are over-purchasing licenses for software just so they don't have to deal with the BSA.

I'll tell you why that is, because I was tasked with keeping my former employer up to snuff with their licensing.

It is virtually impossible to get everything perfect. You'd think it was simple - if it's a commercial piece of software, one license per user.

Nope.

Let's start with Windows. We'll assume that your company has been making do with fairly elderly PCs for some time, but has since come into money and is taking the opportunity to replace every PC with new hardware running Windows 7. And, in order to make management easier and guarantee every PC is running the same build, as soon as they arrive you're going to reimage the whole lot with your own image with most of the software you need preinstalled.

Not with OEM Windows licenses you're not. The only person who's allowed to roll out Windows using an imaging-based system and an OEM Windows license is the OEM, not the customer. You have to pay Microsoft for an enterprise Windows license. But that enterprise license is an upgrade-only license - it's not OK to call your OEM and say "Can we have these PCs without Windows, because we've already got a licenses?", you still need to buy PCs with Windows.

OK, your company has come into some money. But you still don't have an unlimited budget, and buying a site-wide enterprise license for Windows is really going to bite. Then you remember there was some talk of moving some people with very limited requirements over to Linux. "Ah!" you think. "This could be just the thing - we can reduce the number of Windows licenses we need and that way we'll come in within budget". Well, you think that until you read the terms of the Microsoft enterprise license. "For licensing purposes, count the total number of PCs you own, and the number of Macs on which you will run the software." Note it doesn't say "Number of PCs on which you will run the software". Now, I'm no lawyer, but that sounds to me an awful lot like you can't simply say "We're running Linux on these 50 desktops, so we're not counting them." I have no idea how well such an argument would stand up if you were in court, but I do know that in my country, most of the consumer-protection laws which would frown on asking a consumer to agree to such terms don't apply to agreements between businesses. And most companies are extremely reluctant to become the first test case.

Now that's just Windows. Office is just as awkward (license it for every PC on an annual basis, it costs about a third of the normal license cost - okay, you have to pay every year but it means you have to find a third of the money you'd otherwise have to find. Say "We don't need everyone to have Office, we'll omit licensing it for these users" and suddenly you don't qualify for the annual licensing. So unless you can omit licensing it for a significant number of people, it actually works out dearer). I haven't even started to discuss licensing for Adobe's commercial products, which are different again.

Re:FTW! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193996)

Now, I'm no lawyer, but that sounds to me an awful lot like you can't simply say "We're running Linux on these 50 desktops, so we're not counting them.

Sounds to me like you can. What are they going to do, sue you for not having a license on a computer where you use none of their software? Yea, thats going to hold up REAL well.

Looks more like MS is pretending PC=Windows, and conveniently ignoring the fact that Linux desktop distros exist.

Re:FTW! (1)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193478)

Many years ago I worked for a small startup that pirated pretty much every piece of software we used. This wasn't light piracy of not keeping track of licenses or something of that nature. People there had literally had downloaded programs like Word and Photoshop from warez sites. As a startup, we were broke and felt somewhat justified in not being able to afford software.

Eventually we were acquired by a mid-sized company (maybe 500 employees or so) that was reasonably profitable. When my boss went to ask for budget to actually buy the software to replace illegal copies, he was told that employees are expected to buy their own tools and that no budget would be provided. Literally, we were probably talking about the equivalent of Adobe CS for 3 or 4 people--not a ton of money for something that's critical to doing your job. So did our designers go out and buy Photoshop? Hell, no! We all just kept using the pirated versions and muttered about turning them into the SBA some day.

That management didn't even respect us enough to buy us the tools we needed to do the job was pretty detrimental to the morale. Like many startups, we all left within a year or so of acquisition. I'd have turned them into the SBA in a hot minute after leaving, but I just wanted to move on with my life at that point and just didn't want to bother with figuring out how to report them.

A few years ago, I was searching for the company's information while updating my resume. The first page of search results were all about an SEC filing against the CEO for some sort of insider trading and securities fraud. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people.

Alternatively... (4, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191658)

Of course, there is another plausible scenario:

Boss: You're fired!

Ex-Employee: Oh shit!

Later, at home.

Ex-Employee: Fire me, will you? We'll see who laughs last...

dials telephone...

Ex-Employee: Hello? SIIA? I'd like to report a case of widespread use of unlicensed software by a major company...

Ex-Employee: Uh... no, no, I'm no longer with the company. I uh, left ... because I was disgusted at their wanton disregard for intellectual property...

Which isn't to say that some of those reports aren't made by highly principled people, of course. But I bet I know which category had the most hits...

Re:Alternatively... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191752)

Hardly matters, IMO. When you're a crooked employer, you better take better care of your employers than the competition does. Giving someone a powerful weapon that they can use against you, then dumping on that someone, is just plain stupid.

Re:Alternatively... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192590)

When you're a crooked employer, you better take better care of your employers than the competition does

So your advice for jobseekers would be to find a crook and work for him, because you'll be better looked after?

Re:Alternatively... (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192626)

When you're a crooked employer, you better take better care of your employers than the competition does

So your advice for jobseekers would be to find a crook and work for him, because you'll be better looked after?

Hardly. By "you better take better care", the GP is obviously saying that you 'should' take better care. Nowhere does the GP state that they 'will' take better care. People who are ethical in one area, in my experience, are more likely to be ethical in other areas. All things being equal, even from a pure self-interest point of view, I would rather work with an employer who doesn't defraud software companies.

Re:Alternatively... (0)

chudnall (514856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191828)

Even more alternatively:

Employee: Crap, I'm going to be over budget this year. I won't get my bonus. I know, I'll just pirate this expensive instead of paying for it. It's not like they ever audit licenses around here anyway. As long as everything works, the bosses are happy.

Boss: Sorry, you've been doing a great job, but we're downsizing you. Naturally we're doing this just before we have to pay bonuses.

Employee: Well, at least I can make a few bucks reporting these guys to the BSA. It's what they get for pirating software.

Re:FTW! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191958)

Its more like they SAID that was the reason, when in reality they were all for it and participated in it.

Re:FTW! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192048)

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

I know in a period of my past I've been a willing participant in corporate piracy, but over time it wears one down.

Being asked to commit a crime (circumvent drm ) on a regular basis for work was no fun.

Re:FTW! (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192072)

It's a shock what people lose sleep over in this day and age.

Consider that honesty is mostly not something that people turn on and off depending on the situation. Management that requires IT staff to pirate software is management that's likely to screw staff over other things as well.

good (4, Informative)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191370)

pirated software also hurts open source take up too.

Re:good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191454)

Unlikely. It's just a cheaper path to the only solution they can employ. FOSS wasn't even on their radar.

Re:good (3, Insightful)

Vapula (14703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191656)

Some people would NEVER think about some commercial software if they couldn't pirate them...

Think about these many kids toying with programs like 3DStudio, Adobe Photoshop, ... Their budget is near to zero but they are learning to use these tools using pirated versions... The alternative is they playing with Gimp, Blender3D, ... Which would lead to more people interrested in these softwares which would greatly benefit to the FOSS.

The kids of today are the grownups of tomorrow...

Re:good (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191708)

As a user of Adobe Photoshop who switched to GIMP, Hooray! However, as a user of Lightwave who tried switching to Blender... Yuck, Blender sucks.

Re:good (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194012)

I always wonder why The GIMP is listed as a viable alternative to Photoshop, given its awful interface, when the respectable and free (tho not FOSS) Paint.NET is overlooked. I really dont see why FOSS vs free would matter in the least to a business or burgeoning graphics artist, especially when the alternative is piracy.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193042)

Unlikely. It's just a cheaper path to the only solution they can employ.

No. The only solution is not to start the corporation. Actually, that would be the preferred solution, not the only one.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192816)

I don't think nearly enough people have taken notice of this point. Cost is definitely one of if not *the* major benefit to free, open source software as far as management is concerned. My boss at a previous company was quite emphatic that all 9 employees in the company have a copy of Microsoft Office. It wasn't until I sent him the quote for $200+ per license that the open source alternatives were even considered. We ended up going with a mix of the two when a plurality of engineers expressed their displeasure with simply pirating the more expensive software (at least in part because it distorted the comparison between FOSS and MS Office).

$3,593.75 average (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191372)

More than 59% of those reporting are no longer employed by the target company.

Yep, and I wonder how many are unemployable?

Or, how many can actually get another job?

Two things you never want to be associated with:

1. Thief.
2. Whistleblower.

$3,593.75 isn't worth it for me. If there were piracy going on where I worked and management was part of it, I'd keep my mouth shut and leave.

No company wants someone who's going to go reporting on illegal activity - none. They may say they do, but in reality, they don't.

Everyone, let alone entire companies, has something to hide. You may not know it, but you do - there's just too many laws, IP, regulations and whatnot to run afoul.

Re:$3,593.75 average (4, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191492)

1. A thief is a person who removes something of value for his own personal gain (either to use or sell for money).
2. A whistleblower is a person who highlights inethical practices of otherwise unchecked entities without personal gain.
3. A snitch on the other hand sells out his peers for a small reward, which is exactly what is happening here...

Like you said everyone has something to hide and you should respect their privacy by letting them. This should only be violated for highly unethical practices that greatly affect people's lives, like whistleblowers do... These people are heroes who think of the greater good before thinking of themselves, they may be in low esteem from corporations but they are heroes to the common man. Snitches on the other hand are the scum of the earth who violate peoples privacy for mundane things like software piracy and get paid for it too... everyone rightfully hates a snitch because their actions are more unethical than the supposedly unethical things they snitch on. A whistleblower understands this equation of ethics and is on the right side of ethical behavior, a snitch only thinks of personal needs and grievances and does not take ethics into account until after the fact when it might be a good argument to hide their motives...

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191672)

This should only be violated for highly unethical practices that greatly affect people's lives, like whistleblowers do... These people are heroes who think of the greater good before thinking of themselves, they may be in low esteem from corporations but they are heroes to the common man.

Tell that to the poor bastard who can never work again.

Whistleblowers are screwed for life - they never come out whole - ever.

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191680)

Snitches on the other hand are the scum of the earth who violate peoples privacy for mundane things like software piracy and get paid for it too... everyone rightfully hates a snitch because their actions are more unethical than the supposedly unethical things they snitch on.

lol what bs. it just sounds like you're mad you've been snitched on a time or two.

tips to avoid being snitched on:
1. don't do anything illegal
2. if you feel you must violate #1, KEEP IT A SECRET DUMMY.

finally, if you violate both #1 & #2, don't cry when you get in trouble.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192076)

Do you drive (in the usa)?

Because I'm pretty sure I speed enough times a day to lose my license.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192864)

The difference between a whistleblower and a snitch is the reason they report illegal behavior. A whistleblower does it because it's the ethical thing to do. A snitch does it because he got into trouble and is trying to save his own ass or cut a deal.

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191682)

Sorry, no. If they want to keep something hidden, they need to keep it hidden, including from me. If I have to be part of it, then I am a partner in crime if I don't do something about it. It is unreasonable to expect someone to expose themselves to that kind of liability without compensation. That way you would just set yourself up as the fall guy: If nothing happens, your boss reaps the benefits, if it comes to light, you're going to get blamed. So either the admin gets paid enough to make him keep it to himself, or the admin leaves. But then why should the admin leave and shoulder all the risk and costs associated with that move?

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191704)

The company is doing something unethical for profit, and the snitch is doing something unethical for profit. I'm not seeing any problem here. Unethical companies deserve snitches.

I'd say it depends on the situation (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191720)

It isn't as though piracy in every company will be the same. So suppose that you work for a company and piracy is widespread, they don't pay for any of their apps. This includes apps by small developers, for who the couple thousand licenses would be a major, major sale. You go and talk to management about it and get told "You'll keep your mouth shut if you know what is good for you."

In that case, I'd say you are quite justified going to an anti-piracy group, even if they do offer a reward. After all you tried to deal with the problem internally and couldn't, and the company is just ripping off others for their own gain.

Now on the other hand if you work at a company where most software is licensed. You occasionally find some unlicensed stuff, but it is clearly not the norm or the policy. Things like users installing their own stuff because there are poor IT policies, or a group pirating something they need to do their job because their supervisor is incompetent. Management is clearly unaware of this, and you never bring it to their attention.

In that case ya I'll call you a money grubbing asshole if you go to an anti-piracy group. After all it is entirely possible that the situation would be rectified if brought to someone's attention and if you don't want to do that for risk of retribution, just let it go, it isn't a big deal.

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191976)

how old are you? six?

jesus christ. I bet you code software for a living too, yet are too dumb fucking thick to realsie that supporting pirated software only detsroys your own employemnt prospects.
What a typical retarded slahdot hippie.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192068)

Snitches on the other hand are the scum of the earth who violate peoples privacy for mundane things like software piracy and get paid for it too...

You think its mundane. A company selling software could be out of pocket by a lot of money, though. And bringing privacy into this... We're not talking knowing what some individual you wrote in a personal email or what websites they visited. We're talking about whether a company paid for the software licences or not. I don't believe you can't see the difference between those two categories of information.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192180)

I wonder if anyone ever turned down the reward? Even if I were desperate for money, I don't think I'd go that far.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193704)

I hope somebody robs you, and there are witnesses, and that fortunately for you, none of them are scum. You wouldn't want them violating the robber's privacy.

Re:$3,593.75 average (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191738)

Two things you never want to be associated with:

1. Thief.
2. Whistleblower.

If your boss is using some software without proper license, it's just not worth it to be a snitch.

On the other hand, if your boss is dumping toxic chemicals into the water supply, is torturing people, or lying about weapons of mass destruction in order to start a war, it's definitely worth it to be a whistleblower.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191990)

Oh, I dunno. I worked for this place once where they had an OSHA violation that was actually causing me to be ill. I asked them to fix it, and said that I wouldn't care except that I was getting headaches. They fired me the next day. Guess what I did? That's right, that day I got home and the first thing I did is call OSHA and report them for violations, and explain I'd been fired for mentioning it to my superiors. They got in some deep shit over that.

Generally, and I know software piracy is a bit different, the rules for businesses about what to do and not do are there for good reason. Ignore them at your employees risk, and they are unlikely to "take one for the team".

Re:$3,593.75 average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192408)

Your web development website gives a messload of errors. If I were a potential client, it wouldn't instill much confidence in your abilities...

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Warning: mysql_select_db(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/jordanl/public_html/header.php on line 36

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Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192922)

Yeah yeah. I haven't worked on that in a while. Been working on another pet project: fanfictionrecs.net

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192732)

Or, how many can actually get another job? Two things you never want to be associated with: 1. Thief. 2. Whistleblower.

I haven't read TFA but I wouldn't be surprised if you could rat out your (former) employer while keeping your name out of it: the BSA or whatever is going to do a raid to collect the evidence.

Personally I was quite surprised when I realised that my former employer had pirated virtually all their business software. At least that explained the crappy quality of the manuals. If I'd ratted them out after I quit (there were plenty of reasons, but not as a protest against software piracy) they probably would have tried to blame me for it anyway.

Re:$3,593.75 average (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193566)

Ok, maybe I'm missing something, but how exactly do they find out that you're a whistleblower? It's not like you put that on your resume, or tell them in the interview.

Now, of course, if they call your former employers, they might tell them, but remember, if they do, you can sue them. There's a reason that most companies now will NOT say anything about former employees except 1) dates of employment, and 2) eligibility to rehire (yes/no). You can easily find out if a former employer is trash-talking you too: have a buddy call up and pretend to be a new employer.

Not very effective. (3, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191374)

From TFA,

"In 2010, SIIA sent approximately 1400 demand letters, collected close $40,000 in restitution."

That's under $30/letter on average. From the SIIA website:

"Those who report piracy taking place within an organization to SIIA may be eligible for a reward of up to $1 million."

From TFA:

"In 2010, the Software and Information Industry Association received 157 reports of alleged corporate end user software piracy. Of the 157 reports, 42 (or 27%) were judged sufficiently reliable to pursue. Of these 16 qualified for rewards totaling $57,500."

$57k for 16 cases is a far cry from "Up to $1M". Could it be that they're being deceptive/misleading?

Re:Not very effective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191544)

Could it be that they're being deceptive/misleading?

I think your answer would be from your first quote. If you look at what was collected vs what was paid out, they're paying whistleblowers almost 150% of what was collected. It stands to reason that increased collections would lead to increased payouts. All that "up to $1m" means is that in the event of a multi-million dollar collection, the payout is capped at $1m. Doesn't seem like they're cheating the whistleblowers when the reward exceeds the collection.

Re:Not very effective. (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193182)

RTFA, those are two different categories of collections. $40k is from 1400 demand letters, not from the 42 of 157 reports that they pursued. According to TFA, they collected $200k from one client alone, and they don't say how much they collected in total.

Re:Not very effective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192102)

They either need to increase there notion of "sufficiently reliable", because there false-positive rate is to high, OR: there use Hollywood accounting that makes many positive samples fail to qualified for rewards.
In any case, there is a 26/42 = 62% chance that the actual reward is $0, instead of the $3,593.75.

$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (4, Insightful)

upuv (1201447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191390)

OK So these people may feel morally better. They probably are.

But when asked the question during an interview. "Why did you leave you last organization?" Answer "Oh I turned them in for a few thousand dollars."

That is a career limiting move.

Yah it's wrong but it's true.

Then there is the industry. Only coughing up $57,000 grand total. That's not even an IT persons full time salary for a year. The reward or even stigma of the reward is doing more damage to personal lives than the good of correcting the poor behavior of companies. I'm sure MS has paid more for a poster about piracy than it paid out to people doing the right thing.

It just makes me shake my head.

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (1)

hishamaus (1991142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191406)

That is so true though someone turning in their organization for money should not be stupid enough to resign for that reason and let everybody know what he did and 57K is just lame

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191440)

"What did you do at your last job?"
"Oh, I saw something clearly wrong and participated in it."

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191450)

"Why did you leave you last organization?"

"Personal differences."

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191534)

> "Why did you leave you last organization?"

"As a professional software developer, I wasn't prepared to stand by and watch other professional software developers suffer as a result of crimes carried out by my previous employer, nor did I want to participate in the aiding and abetting of criminals just because they're paying me.

Stigma? Please! Only a company which commits illegal acts would have a problem with this.

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (2)

IchBinEinPenguin (589252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191562)

Stigma? Please! Only a company which commits illegal acts would have a problem with this.

So.. How do you like working for Santa Inc.?
commits illegal acts is pretty much page unavoidable these days given the number of laws.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594032556/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top/177-5432351-7342110 [amazon.com]

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191568)

Only a company which commits illegal acts would have a problem with this

Every company commits illegal acts. The nature of our legal system is that it's impossible to go through a normal day without breaking a few dozen laws. This is especially true of copyright infringement. Are you 100% certain that every piece of software in your company is licensed? No one has kept WinZIP installed past the shareware period? No one has copied a program from another machine without checking the licensing? The Windows installs are all on the corporate license key and not OEM versions?

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191582)

As an IT Professional, it seems to me that I'd do much better convincing upper management that not pirating software is, in the long run, cheaper than risking litigation and loss of reputation and good will, than trying to get a few grand from a bunch of scum IP lawyers.

I suspect that I'd probably (as long as I didn't get fired :) ) get a raise or bonus well in excess of anything the SIIA might pay for putting my organization's house in order.

I also suspect that many here will just assume that I'm naive and that I'd probably get fired on the spot from most companies that are pirating software. I disagree. I believe that most top managers at medium and large sized companies (small companies are a whole different animal) would be appalled to know that they're risking lawsuits, the good will of their vendors and lots of bad publicity for a few tens of thousands of dollars in software licensing fees.

That said, I'm glad I don't have to go through that where I am now. I like my job. :)

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192022)

>>"I disagree. I believe that most top managers at medium and large sized companies (small companies are a whole different animal) would be appalled to know that they're risking lawsuits, the good will of their vendors and lots of bad publicity for a few tens of thousands of dollars in software licensing fees."

Most of my clients are small to medium sized businesses. When they ask me if I can install Program X, which is used and licensed properly on another system, without uninstalling the first or purchasing another license I tell them no. Then I tell them why: they don't want to take on the risk of hassles from the likes of the BSA. I then tell them the story about the Ernie Ball company. So far they've either agreed to purchase another license or they don't install more copies than they have licenses for.

As their IT consultant it's my job to make sure I'm not doing things which could land them in trouble. Incredibly, most aren't aware that I can't just install this one purchased copy everywhere they like. :)

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192612)

As their IT consultant it's my job to make sure I'm not doing things which could land them in trouble. Incredibly, most aren't aware that I can't just install this one purchased copy everywhere they like. :)

Wouldn't necessarily land just your client in trouble. Check your professional indemnity insurance, there's a good chance it explicitly excludes cases involving software piracy.

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191604)

You're honest in job interviews? You're insane.

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191774)

Mark me as insane, too. I'd rather flip burgers for someone honestly than hate myself for being a lying sack of shit at some place where my boss would hate me if he knew me.

On that note, I'm thinking about going to work for someone else again, because I'm thinking about moving... cue the insanity

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191804)

I recently read 15 touchest interview questions and answers [monster.com] . Oh my god. I could never give such obvious bullshit answers. No wonder you yankees suck.

Things not to say in a job interview (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191792)

If you're stupid enough to admit you turned in your last company for software piracy during an interview, you might want to consider these interviewing tips:

1. Leave out the part about banging your secretary in the closet at the Christmas party. (This is a true story, an executive of a company I used to work for did this and was fired the next work day).
2. Don't mention how you hacked in and read others' emails.
3. Don't mention your recent discovery of youporn.
4. Don't mention that you are a scratch golfer. (Another true story - an underperforming sales rep took his bosses golfing and shot even - they realized he was spending too much time on golf).

Re:$3500 to get black listed by ever IT corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191894)

You could work for Kroll doing auditing. They do this [kroll.com] kind of stuff. You won't make many friends, but you'll get paid.

sounds surprisingly low (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191394)

Only 57k total ???? I would expect from one, half decent bust. Sounds like beer money rather than bait. Let's face it, animus, deserved or not, is the big motivator.

Don't be surprised, it's a scam. (5, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191424)

You shouldn't be surprised, because typically these bounties state that you get some percentage of the money collected as damages through a court, but most cases are never reach that state, they're settled out of court. The idea that you can "turn someone in and become rich" is but a dream; in all likelihood you'll never see a dime. You'll just be that guy.

Re:Don't be surprised, it's a scam. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192136)

In which case, the immense likelihood is not that 42 people received $1,357 each. More likely only one or two people got any money.

The rest got nothing.

Suddenly, it doesn't look like such a great deal. Furthermore, I can see an obvious way this could go wrong for the whistleblower:

Give too little evidence, and it won't be worth pursuing. Give too much, and as soon as the BSA show what they intend to take to court, your former employer will settle out of court.

Re:sounds surprisingly low (1, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191574)

If you consider $57K to be beer money, then we should go for a drink sometime (you're paying).

The math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191580)

57K is 3.5K per person who got the rewards. You can't even rent a flat for one month for that price. 16/157 is one out of ten that got a reward. In comparison four out of ten got to keep their jobs. For now.

Re:The math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191610)

57K is 3.5K per person who got the rewards. You can't even rent a flat for one month for that price.

Where the hell do you live that 3.5k won't pay for a flat for a month?!

While I don't disagree that it's basically chump change in the grand scheme of things (when faced with unemployment vs the steady income before you turned snitch), it's also not a pittance. Quite a while ago, I got $5000 for turning in a company that I USED to work for (after finding a better job)... that $5000 was very nice to have and paid my rent for a lot longer than one month. After that, I made it a habit to snitch out every company I worked for after moving on to something better - if you look, there'll always be something you can find. I don't always get nice payouts for it, but from time to time it works nicely and I've never had a negative side effect.

(note: Normally I'd post under my username, but the whole admitting I'm a serial snitch thing is something I'd rather not associate with my username where co-workers or potential future employers might see)

Re:The math (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191796)

You're a rather sad person, I think. Snitching on a company or two, for something serious, may or may not be justified. I'd have to judge each case on it's own merits. But, snitching on ALL of your employers? That's just low. You admit that you are digging for something with which to punish them when you are gone. In effect, you have little value to a company, you know that you'll be terminated sooner or later, so you're actively searching for a way to punish them from the day you start. You should change your sig. "sucks2bme"

Re:The math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191722)

57K is 3.5K per person who got the rewards. You can't even rent a flat for one month for that price.

I guess thirty pieces of silver just doesn't cut it any more.

Re:The math (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191844)

So in this metaphor, the companies stealing the work of software makers are Jesus Christ?

Re:The math (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193636)

He's probably an American. Most of them believe that being high-up in business equates you with a messiah, and openly worship corporations.

Hahahahaha (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191430)

In fact, many of SIIA's sources report that their primary reason for leaving the target company was the company's lack of ethical behavior related to software compliance.

so they say then eh .... rather, they got fired, laid off, or quit/changed jobs and decided to make a quick buck or to take revenge.

Re:Hahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191778)

It could also be that they fled before the lawsuits started. I've been fortunate, and cautious enough to resign once before it got that out of hand. A company that is wholesale pirating software tends to be deceiving their staff about other things, such as promotion prospects, fiscal growth, hardware budgets, support contracts, and whether they actually hire anyone to fill those IT openings they list as "getting the overwhelmed IT staff the help they need".

Snitches... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191448)

Get stiches!!!

Corporate-sponsored Stasi? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191466)

I don't see any possible way for this to go wrong.

Obama to cut heat subsidies for poor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191512)

no cuts are planned in the rothchild's subsidies

RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191600)

Arent these the type of people the RIAA love, not whistle blowers but snitches willing to sell their souls for a buck.

Re:RIAA (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192530)

Yeah. When you hire someone, you want to know that they are at least dependable in a general sense. If they have a history of selling out their employers; that shows they are willing to turn on you if you piss them off. Odds are that these people were offended by their bosses in some way just before they reported on them; which is why they no longer work there... they were fired or quit.

Whistleblowing ... ? (1)

ego centrik (1971902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191622)

This is NOT whistleblowing, this is denunciation. But 57K in 2010 states that such traitors are rare, because ...

freemasons tagging kids, how noble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35191642)

http://northcountrynow.com/news/massena-masons-will-hold-id-event-during-winter-carnival-feb-19-020526

There is no ethic in these denunciations (1)

Vapula (14703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191676)

They are no "whistleblowers", they should better be compared to these people which were pointing jude families to the NASI during WW2...

And SIAA could be compared to the NASI (or the Inquisition) for asking for such letters... Instead of rewarding such a behaviour, it should be strongly punished...

Both the SIAA and these denunciators should be dragged to court in chains for such a lame behaviour !!!

Re:There is no ethic in these denunciations (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194062)

they should better be compared to these people which were pointing jude families to the NASI during WW2...

I'm hoping this guy is joking.

Huge reward was that (2)

linuxiac (1831824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191684)

The HUGE reward was that I moved on, while that small company continued to fail, and actually tried to bribe Government investigators, as to their contract qualifications! They cheated 49 staff employees out of pay, intimidated everyone, and stole works from legitimate competitors. Glad they are gone from this classified government contracting arena, they won't be missed. I still wonder if they were on the payroll of foreign governments who are enemies to free countries. Well, my work there was done, and these workers won many awards from the clients, but, all glory and money was stolen from us, by the bosses! Dilbert moment, in real life! Nope, I got no cash reward, nor did the other folks who joined me in turning in this scum to several agencies. Our reward is that evil did NOT win in any way, and we are still a FREE people! Charges were brought, fines were levied, Jail was threatened for the bosses. BTW, I don't give a crap about the proprietary software venue, but, theft is a crime, as is mistreatment of employees, and sooner or later, evil villains will fall. Happy to have stopped their massacre of innocent victims! Often, the theft of Intellectual Property is only the tip of the iceberg! If they don't run FLOSS, I am very wary of working for them! Using only proprietary software, indicates that they are not the right kind of intellect to use all available tools, and can't compete with those who do use Free, Libre, Open Source Software! IOW, I can't tolerate idiots as bosses! I fire them as soon as they answer my question about FLOSS use, during the interview!

lol (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191768)

I used to work with an "IT Professional" that had previously worked for the Geek Squad while he was in school. He bragged about all the money he got turning people in for illegal copies of Windows/Office. Microsoft would give him $100 for everyone he turned in and then call/threaten the person in question into buying a full copy of their software. I mentioned the fact that a lot of these people were probably totally unaware that someone had put illegal copies of windows on their computer (if they had the tech knowledge to be installing pirated copies of windows, they'd have little need for the geek squad) it was probably a relative or on the computer when they purchased it. His reply was "So?" at which point I decided he was a worthless excuse for a human being and stopped talking to him.

That said, turning in any business that's intentionally pirating software, even Microsofts, is morally legit in my book.

lots of repair shops load illegal copies of Window (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35191954)

lots of repair shops load illegal copies of Window illegal copies of Windows/Office on systems.

In company's some of it is poor paper work that makes some of the software illegal copies other it's PHB that have no idea or cheap higher ups that will not take that you can not have that software on there systems with out having to pay for it. Other times some taking a high cost piece of software and useing one copy for the full office.

Step 2 (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192014)

75% of all reports come from IT staff or managers, 11% from the company's senior management and 4% from outside consultants. More than 59% of those reporting are no longer employed by the target company.

It sounds to me like 75% of the reports come from the people who probably installed the software in the first place, and most of them made the report after they were fired or quit.

stick to yer guns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192388)

I work at a print shop, and my boss is good at getting licenses for Office and Adobe, but for lesser-known programs, for instance $200 for VectorMagic, a magnificient raster-to-vector tool created at Stanford. I simply refuse when he asks me to pirate it, reminding him how much time (money) we would save despite the cost, but he refuses to buy it.

No shocker (1)

iSimon19 (1993340) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192412)

Somehow, the stats really just don't surprise me at all. Although after this I'm sure all the IT managers will be scrambling to drop a few things..

The obvious solution (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35192628)

is to never use anything but FOSS. Yes I know there will be those who respond, "But I work for a specialized X company doing Y and we have to use specialized software Z that only runs on Windows. Therefore, there is no way we could ever switch to FOSS." And that describes exactly 1% of all companies in the world.

The vast majority of companies use a browser, a file server, word processor, spreadsheet, and email. Those problems were solved by FOSS long, long ago.

So use FOSS exclusively in your company and the BSA is a bag of troubles you'll never have to worry about.

Re:The obvious solution (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193120)

Using FOSS will save you a lot more trouble than just the BSA. If more companies did this, we'd have more of them poor money into FOSS, and it'd be even better...

However, I think that corporations are a system defective by design, and we should have more self-employed in the world.

Re:The obvious solution (1)

J Isaksson (721660) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193266)

However, you may be the target of SFLC instead. Harder to violate the licenses, but just saying using FOSS will just automatically solve everything isn't entirely true.

Re:The obvious solution (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193710)

The problem is that lots of companies use some special software program that their business basically depends on. For instance, tons of dentist offices depend on Dentrix these days. Many other places use special accounting software. Sure, most of their other needs could be satisfied just fine with Ubuntu Linux, Firefox, and LibreOffice 3.3, but there's always that one special app that only runs on Windows. Because of that, that means they have to run Windows OS for all the employees who need that app.

Of course, running Windows OS doesn't mean you have to run proprietary version of everything else. You can run LibreOffice on Windows too; in fact, H&R Block uses OpenOffice, and has for several years. Not using MS Office can save a ton of money across a corporation.

Not so simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35192798)

In most corporations, IT is responsible for this kind of stuff. Responsible as in "the one standing in front of the judge". It's like having to pay, personally, for any speed tickets in your company with no power to stop their speeding. Since that responsibility doesn't stop after you leave. You still are liable for the period when you were in post.

Whistling them becomes the best way to avoid paying for the corporation infringements.

Think about it.

Re:Not so simple... (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35193178)

The buck stops at the top. Only when a corporation has paid someone off in some way can they get away with blaming an individual employee in that way. A CEO or CFO, etc. are supposed to know that all "tools" used are not stolen, pirated, etc.

Futureshop/Best Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193576)

They should just go to the repair dept. of Futureshop/Best buy, they will find more than enough pirated softwares. The same can be said about pretty much every other PC stores that offers Repair or installation.

Civil not Criminal, get your head around that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35193872)

First off, Piracy is a CIVIL matter, not a criminal one. Worst that can happen to you in a civil suit is your company loses money, you won't lose a nickel. You won't go to jail unless they can prove you violated DMCA and honestly you'd have to REALLY piss them off to get that to happen.

The copyright owners might like it to be a criminal one, but it isn't and never will be because copyright is a grey area.

Second it isn't theft. To steal one must willfully suspend belief in the concept of property; to do so one willfully suspends belief in the idea one is oneself's property, and suspends the awareness of whom one is owned by. What is property? By the dictionary Property is either a tangible asset or a granted privilege over an inalieble right. A chair falls under the former, and Intellectual property and Patents fall under the ladder; you can't force people to stop thinking up great ideas, but you can exclude them from persuing them or force them to pay royalties if you thought of it first; an ethically debatable privilege with lively discourse.

Finally, Congress and the SCOTUS have ruled time and time again that everything from 1928 and onward is copy-written to ensure Disney can maintain control over Mickey mouse, among other companies wanting control over their bread-and-butter media. Everything that culture is from the characters in comic books to the sounds you hear on TV are owned; to destroy fair use and public domain is to destroy the very reason for the public to consent to such a system and I would argue once the length of a copyright, patent, or Intellectual property reaches the average lifetime of the body public this rubic has been met and it is invalid. A copyright of 10 years is reasonable and it's arguable characters are registrable trademarks anyway.

If my boss starts asking me to install pirated software, I'm going to ask for that in e-mail or in writing before I do it as I'm not about to take the heat for his risk. If he asks me to crack and install pirated software, the answer is send me an e-mail request to which I will print, place in the file at home, and reply no way because that carries criminal charges and I'm not stupid. If the company is doing a lot of civilly and criminally stupid things I'm going to contact the local PD, sit down with a Lieutenant and talk over what he needs me to do to reel in the lot and if it's a situation where the police are bought, I'm probably going to figure out what needs to be done to put an end to it.

I wonder... (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35194018)

I wonder how many of those who reported this obtained and/or installed pirated software. I am guessing that a lot of the time when businesses are reported, it is revenge motivated.

Even if the person reporting the piracy wasn't the one who actually pirated the software, I hardly find reporting businesses to the BSA to be admirable behavior.

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