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Business Software Alliance "Grace Period"

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the well-that's-awfully-good-of-them dept.

The Almighty Buck 490

The BSA is running (until January 31) a "Grace Period" for "voluntary compliance" in the cities of San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Houston,Norfolk/Richmond, Nashville, Indianapolis, Bozeman, and Orlando. Small businesses recieve a card in the mail, having been assigned a tracking number, so you know you're in their files. In previous press releases they state that they send out up to 700,000 of these cards simultaneously. Scanning their reported settlement victories, they then seem to pick 2-4 business to destroy. If the businesses don't go along, the BSA hires the Federal Marshals as mercenaries to help ensure compliance with their extortion. Microsoft, unsurprisngly, is a big supporter of this and pushes it to vendors as a chance to strengthen customer relations. (this is a powerpoint document, but thankfully you can also have it: translated via google). CD: Here is a link to the press release on this matter.

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490 comments

frost pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840857)

fsdafasdfsadfasdfasdf sfdasd fasdfadfasdf

As a logged in user... (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840868)

I claim the REAL Frost Pist.

BSA? BullShit Artists more like!

BSA (5, Funny)

nurightshu (517038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840867)

Am I the only sleep-deprived person who read the front page blurb thinking that the Boy Scouts of America would be sending storm troopers into the homes of 700,000 random citizens?

Guten Morgen! Ve are from ze Boy Scouts, und ve must this home search! After we have zis done, ve vill force you...to tie knots!

Re:BSA (1)

LilDebbie (539816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840874)

Yes, yes you were.

Re:BSA (2)

krmt (91422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840900)

Perhaps this is their Eagle Scout project?

Re:BSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840922)

Oh - simply hilarious!

Scout Oath (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840943)

Be Prepared....to upgrade to our software or else!

-GameMaster

Re:BSA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841018)

How disgustingly racist. Someone moderate this shit down.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841101)

hahaha, how knotty [wwu.edu]

help the giFT project! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840870)

WE NEED NODES!

01/14/2002 - I bet you've always wanted to be a node, havn't you? Well, actually we are getting far enough into development where we need people to run giFT so we can test network integrity, organization, etc. Ready to get started [sourceforge.net] ?

giFT is a free alternative to kazaa/morpheus

Re:help the giFT project! (-1)

negativekarmanow tm (518080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840895)

So what exactly is not free about morpheus? oh right, free as in speech, not beer.

I'll choose free beer over free speech every day of the week.

I'll give you some free beer (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840975)

up your ass anyday.. I bet you'd do anything for a free beer.. like suck dick.. oh, sorry, you do that for free?.. well well..

Please send the free beer to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841000)

Sergei Borginska
14 Povst Karsnost
Berlingrad,
RUS 4031

I will suck your dick upon receiving the beer. Thank you.

How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840872)

OK, let's say you steal $50,000 from the bank, and the police come to your house and say "Give us the $50,000 or we'll throw you in jail." Is that extortion? Hardly.

Why do people think that illegally copying software is a right? If you don't want to pay for software, use open-source software instead. Isn't that why we're all here -- to promote open source software solutions? Why are we hell bent on also trying to legitamize bootlegged software, when doing so does nothing but make "free software advocates" look like a bunch of freeloaders?

I wish people would understand that free software is exactly the opposite of freeloading -- it's giving your work away for the public good. Articles like this one put me in the same group of people that are on the side of the illegal theft of intellectual property that someone has chosen not to make public. It's someone else's right to ask me to pay for software, just as it's my right to give it away for free.

Go write free software. Go use free software. Go evangelize free software. But please, don't be so fucking petty as to complain about someone enforcing the fact that their software isn't free.

Re:How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840916)

How about the fact that the BSA (I get the BS part, anyway) sends out these cards without discretion? OK, let's say you run Linux or BSD or whatever, and the police come to your house and say "Give us the $50,000 you owe us for software you're not even running." What about companies that legitimately purchase licenses for all their software? It ain't free to audit an organization with 20,000 users, no matter how much documentation you've saved. Who do you think foots the bill for that, even if they're compliant? It sure isn't the BSA, savior of the software industry.

forced audit? (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840959)

So under what terms do they force this audit? Is this part of the large site license agreements that companies sign onto?

Re:forced audit? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840987)

No.

I'm speaking here as someone who, a couple years ago, was working in the IS department of a company which was hit by one of these threatening letters.

Generally, they instruct the target company to run their auditing software to "prove" that they are in compliance with all software licenses on site. Such letters of instruction usually include a threat of legal action if the company does not comply. The threat is their standard operating procedure - it doesn't matter if you are 100% legal.

Since most companies would rather not pay to defend against a frivolous lawsuit, or risk an oversight of some software than Joe Employee may have installed, they end up performing the audit. The BSA doesn't offer any compensation for IS hours lost due to this audit.

They also arrange penalties for any discovered "violations". Some of these can quickly get out of hand. For example, in my case, a copy of WordPerfect 5.1 (yes, in 1997!) was lying around on a Netware server which 350 people had access to. Nobody even knew it was there. Guess how many times that violation stacked up, even though no one was using the software.

Although Slashdot's writeup sounds biased, it really IS extortion taking place.

- SEAL

Re:How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (2)

Ironpoint (463916) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840917)

>OK, let's say you steal $50,000 from the bank, and the police come to your house and say "Give us the $50,000 or we'll throw you in jail." Is that extortion? Hardly.

Yes that is a perfect example of extortion. Non-extortion would be to uphold the law which means an unconditional arrest.

Re:How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (5, Insightful)

daemonc (145175) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840938)

The difference is this:

Situation 1 - The police come to your house with a warrant, because you are a suspect in a crime, and they follow rules of search and seizure as mandated by the constitution.

Situation 2 - Someone from a non-profit organization that you've never heard of (which happens to be a front for a certain Software Company, which has been found in a court of law to illegally maintain its monopoly on the software industry) comes to your house and demands to see what you have installed on your computer.

The first situation is called "enforcing the law". I don't know what you would call the second situation, but under some circumstances it might be "extortion".

Re:How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841056)

Please forgive my ignorance (I live in the UK and am not familiar with the roles of federal martials and the like), but how exactly do the BSA get onto your premises to look at your stuff in the first place.

Do they get a search warrant, or just rely on some hapless employee letting them in ? Where do these guys get their remit from?

Re:How is it "extortion" to enforce the law? (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841122)

OK, let's say you steal $50,000 from the bank, and the police come to your house and say "Give us the $50,000 or we'll throw you in jail." Is that extortion? Hardly.

But going to every house and saying this, which is a far better analogy of what the BSA is doing, most certainly would be.

Where are they getting tips from (5, Informative)

Lokni (531043) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840875)

I run a one person operation out of my house and I got one of these letters. What do they do, go down the list of businesses in an area and figure EVERYBODY is pirating their software? I am ingnoring everything they send me. If they want to send a federal marshall to my house, I will see their ass in court. I haven't run windows for about 2 years now, and have never had any employees to rat on me for using "illegal software." Pirate my ass. More than anything this makes me want to start doing file sharing on every piece of software I own.

Re:Where are they getting tips from (1)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840885)

uh oh, they're coming for you now--posting on /. taunting them is probably the easiest way to get hassled. ;)

Re:Where are they getting tips from (5, Funny)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840898)

You should provide them with an "anonymous" tip about all the software you're "stealing." Have you ever seen the online form they have for reporting piracy? There's a little section on it that you can check- "I believe that this company would attempt to eliminate the pirated software if they were informed beforehand," or something like that. Check that off, and then sue them when they bust in and steal all your Linux boxen, depriving you of work.

Re:Where are they getting tips from (2)

Alsee (515537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841031)

I run a one person operation out of my house and I got one of these letters.

Similar story here. We got one of their letters a year or so ago. Small family business, non-existant for the last few years. I can't imagine what obsolete list they were using.

Well, at least it was good for a chuckle before permanent storage in the circular file for future reference.

-

Re:Where are they getting tips from (3, Informative)

erlenic (95003) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841106)

I heard a radio ad here in St. Louis yesterday soliciting tips from disgruntled employees. It had the tone of "If you want to get back at your boss, report him for piracy!" I really hate radio to begin with, but that was the first time something I heard on it actually made me sick to my stomach.

My dad's company was targeted by this about a year ago. They think it was an employee that left a little before that, but I wonder about that now, because the guy they suspect was always trying to bring pirated and "student" versions of software to work, and the company kept trying to stop him. Their lawyer finally sent the BSA a letter demanding certain things, proof of pirating being the key thing, and they still haven't heard back from them in 9 months. It seems they shut the hell up if you try to stand up to them.

Re:Where are they getting tips from (3)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841125)

IYes, that is exactly how they work.

You do need to be careful with your strategy, though. I don't know what the exact position is in the US, but bear in mind that where they can, the BSA have whichever local law they bring in with them *confiscate* your computers as "evidence". How long it's going to take you to get them back I leave as an exercise to the reader. How long your business will stay afloat without your computers ditto.

so what exactly is this? (3, Interesting)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840877)

So how exactly does this work? If you're a business in that area, do they send you a "card", and demand you reply with a statement saying that you're 100% compliant or they'll sue the pants off of you?

Protest Song (1)

alephnull42 (202254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840880)

Break out the protest banners and start singing:

"Amaaaaaaziiiing Graaaaace!"

Tone excuses illegal copying (5, Insightful)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840888)

...mercenaries to help ensure compliance with their extortion...

Or in other words making people pay what they agreed to pay when they started using the software. Its not like they didn't have a choice.

Emotive words like "mercenaries" and "extortion" don't help, any more than words like "piracy" and "software theft".

Meantime this is an excellent time to stop preaching to the choir and start telling those businesses about open source software. Issue press releases. Get interviewed by radio and TV.

Paul.

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840919)

What would be nice if someone in the Open Source community could get a list of all the businesses who received one of these "threats" and immediately mass-mail some Open Source propaganda/literature, whatever. What would be nicer is if someone could foot the bill to produce some nice GLOSSY BROCHURES written to entice the average business owner without sounding too much like an ass, and for someone to foot the bill to mail them all out.

What Linux needs is a marketing department. :)

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

Rentar (168939) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840950)

So we should spam to prevent evil corporations from supressing other companies and to tell those other companies to use free software.

Now if we'd use some high-tech widget (which is subject to an copyright infringement suit and driven by the newest experimental Linux kernel) to mail them, we'd have the perfect slashdot-story

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840958)

nonono.. Not SPAM.. mail *mailing*, as in USPS. Make it legit. :)

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840980)

Just because junk mail is on paper doesn't make it not spam

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

pthisis (27352) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841022)

Well, with paper junkmai the sender has to pay for it (rather than having it subsidized by the recipient). It keeps your postal rates low, and it encourages the sender to target the mailings to people who might be interested (e.g. open-source mailings to people having licensing trouble...) because they have to pay for every piece of mail sent.

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1)

robinjo (15698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840946)

I work for a company which has enough licenses for all software we're using. However, it'd be a nightmare to hunt down each and every of them in case of a BSA raid.

Many companies in our situation don't want to go through all that. They choose to pay more just to save effort.

Re:Tone excuses illegal copying (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841111)

Or in other words making people pay what they agreed to pay when they started using the software

By stop supporting older versions of their software, they are actually adding to the cost of people using their software. There is no expiry tag that says that in the year so and so, we will stop supporting this software. But having proprieties standards, they are not letting people know the real cost of using their software. They never put a tag that says that if a person use their software, that software will make it hard/impossible for the person to use other software or data exchanges or integration. These are real cost. Combining the two together the cost will be prohibitive. Either spends millions to change to a new platform or spends millions of dollars to upgrade to their latest software. I would not say that people pay what they agreed to.

As for the part that emotive words does not help, it does. Missiles and bombs does not help to keep down casuaties. But if a person attacks you with missiles and bombs, a whole lot of good to you if you are using logic and reasons. Emotives words are used to mislead. Emotives words are used to attack and defend. But sometimes it is between survival and extinction. This is not tic for tat. Rather this is about using the right way to defend. I am not defending the software pirates, rather I am arguing about being passive when other people are in an offensive position. In real life, people dun think that you are noble. People would think that you are not able to defend yourself and therefore lousy.

Anyway, think for those companies who are already trying hard enough to make a living at bad times like that and does not need another additional burden because some companies want to increase their obscene profit. If they have evidence that the companies are using unlicensed software, by all means go and raid those companies.

and last words for the day:

Piracy is theft, overpricing is daylight robbery

The radio ads are deceptive... (2, Interesting)

Shenyang (550949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840889)

...I just heard one these ads on a local AM talk radio station. The announcer said "you only need one former or disgruntled employee to pick up the phone" and gave Jan. 31 as the date by which you should buy some software. Even after visiting the BSA web site, it is still unclear to me how one obtains this amnesty - surely just buying some software and saving the receipt isn't enough? (i.e., when the marshals storm your office, showing them a receipt from Fry's probably won't cut the mustard.)

Re:The radio ads are deceptive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840999)

Because you cant BUY anything.
You no longer OWN the damm thing.

If they just want money, then run a BUY or DIE advertisiment like
Are you using pirate software , or think you might..
We want you to buy
get your sorry ass down to .......
or we'll KILL you (sound of machine gun)
Forget ... excuses...
forget that and the kid
pack you wallet, bring the checkbook,
you have 2 hours.. (more gunshot noises)
we know where you live, what you do...
or we will hunt you down like the dog that you are. (sound of dog being kicked and yelping)

nothing like truth in advertising

Hrmm... (2)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840891)

See the last story. [slashdot.org]

If they can do this, shouldn't we ask that they be held liable for faulty products?

{I know that software isn't perfect, but they believe their data is worth that price... what do you get when they are responsible for losing yours?}

Guilty until proven innocent? (4, Insightful)

4im (181450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840899)

Do these BSA guys realise what they are doing? Scaring off their customers? Being extremely arrogant and intrusive? What about that old adage of your customer being the king?

I guess _this_ is one of the best reasons for switching away from vendors that are members of the BSA: None of those license troubles with free software. None of those expensive audits to do (is that included in those MS TCO calculations?). None of those guilt assumptions. No insecurity.

Re:Guilty until proven innocent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840926)

If someone is pirating your software, they aren't really your customer now, are they.

Go BSA! (5, Interesting)

TheFrood (163934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840966)



Do these BSA guys realise what they are doing? Scaring off their customers? Being extremely arrogant and intrusive? What about that old adage of your customer being the king?

I guess _this_ is one of the best reasons for switching away from vendors that are members of the BSA: None of those license troubles with free software. None of those expensive audits to do (is that included in those MS TCO calculations?). None of those guilt assumptions. No insecurity.


I think one of the main reasons free software hasn't caught on is that most people get their software (beer-)free anyway, whether it's supposed to be free or not. After all, why install and learn, say, Mandrake+KDE+KOffice when you can just install someone else's copies of NT and MSOffice and not have to learn anything new?

So as a free/open-source supporter, I'm all in favor of the BSA cracking down on copyright violators. If they make sure everyone pays full price for their proprietary software, people will start giving serious consideration to the truly free alternatives.

TheFrood

passive resistance (1)

Vermithrax (524934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841051)

Remember when they come through your front door that they are going to have to do their audit by hand, No installing softwre on your machine without your permission. That would mean you could demand that the marshals arrest them under various anti hacking laws,
No copying the contents of your computer. The registry on that windows box might be their file but by adding your own components to the box then you could claim it is a work of art and hence any attempt to decode the registry should be punished to the full extent of the DCMA. so instead of just inserting a disk and getting it to turn out a printout of installed software, they are going to have to go through it by hand.
refuse them access to any sections of the disk that may contain customer information on the grounds that you have similar contracts with your customers to guarantee the privacy of their data and so they cant have the machine or a copy of the disk for examination.
Always place your directories in a non obvious arangement so that it will take extra time to run the audit
prepare to go out of business whilst fighting their lawyers.

This of course is assuming your software is legal.

The BSA threatened me (or rather, "Stumpy McGee") (5, Interesting)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840903)

A while back, for work, I had to download something from Microsoft that required "a Passport account." As it turns out, they accept hotmail accounts for this purpose, too. The particular hotmail account's used here had a "real" name of "Stumpy McGee". However, when I signed up for the account, I did use my real USPS mailing address.

Flash forward six months. I start receiving random mailings from Microsoft, Adobe, etc., warning Stumpy McGee of "Fancy Schmancy Puters" that he's probably got pirated software in his company, and that disgruntled employees are lining up to report him, probably. The letter left little doubt that Stumpy was headed for big trouble. But of course, Stumpy could run the "Self-Audit" software and they would take it easy on him.

My question: Has anybody actually run this self-audit software? (I don't think they have a Linux version, so I was out of luck. Did I say "I was out of luck?" I meant Stumpy was out of luck, not me...) What exactly does the spyware do on your system?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Stumpy may save your life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840925)

I'm not familar with the US process but I guess that in order to issue a warrent they will need the correct name on the address? So when the Marshell shows up looking for Stumpy McGee they won't be able to come in?

Re:The BSA threatened me (or rather, "Stumpy McGee (2)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840933)

That Stumpy. Never thinking ahead. He should never have pissed off ol' KnickKnack Wotherspoon, his disgruntled employee. No wonder he got reported.

I love automated letters. You can always tell who sold their mailing list when you start getting mail for "Firstname Lastname."

Re:The BSA threatened me (or rather, "Stumpy McGee (3, Funny)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841048)

I love automated letters. You can always tell who sold their mailing list when you start getting mail for "Firstname Lastname."

I *never* use "Firstname Lastname". I always work something to do with the company whose list it is in there, and none too subtly either, so that if it turns up in spam I know who to bitch at. I'd like to see the look on their face when "Firstname Lastname" turned out to be "Microsoft Corporation". ;)

What self-audit software? (5, Informative)

wideangle (169366) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841065)

You mean Belarc Advisor? [belarc.com]

It's free, and doesn't report anything back to anyone.
In other words, it's not spyware or adware.

Actually a pretty useful tool.
Not only tells you what you have on your system,
but reports free memory slots and current CPU speed as well.

Print the output, use as a handy reference.
Should you ever reformat, the list might come in handy.

You'll likely discover software you didn't know you had.

Licensing (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840905)

TV licenseing authority in .uk do the same (yes, I know you don't have that in many other places, but we get no adverts).
They send nasty letters saying 'We know you don't have a TV license, and you're breaking the law' even when you don't actually have a TV.
That said, if I got a letter like that from the BSA I'd probably go round a few machines to check. With the best will in the world wrt to legit software, your biggest problem is still going to be your users installing 'this copy of $PRODUCT that I borrowed off my mate'
BSA might be facists, but I suppose that software development houses do have a right to protect their interests.
Long live open source!
(Of course, if you were running a linux shop, an officious thug might get really confused when you point out that no, actually you hadn't paid for a license for... well almost anything actually. And then you'd have the headache of fishing out all those GPL license agreements which of course, everyone keeps a hard copy of, to get them to go away :))

Freedom Software (1)

the_olo (160789) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840907)

How many will voluntarily go compliant by seeking Freedom Software alternatives?

Nice spin Slashdot.. (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840909)

..the BSA hires the Federal Marshals as mercenaries to help ensure compliance with their extortion..

Well, thanks for that nicely impartial journalist attitude there. Its amazing what a simple line can do to affect the inflection of a story.

Instead, how about..

'the BSA hires Federal Marshals to ensure the hard work and effort by its members is not stolen by parasitic scum who steal like common thieves.'

I develop software for a small company. I'm quite lucky to be where I am now, doing what I want to. I also work on OSS as a hobby.. (Such as a perl port of PG+ [ewtoo.org] that runs Uberworld [telnet] .) Trust me, if ever I meet someone offering me a 'warez' copy of something I wrote I certianly won't be giving them a big cheery grin..

Re:Nice spin Slashdot.. (2)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840945)

Unfortunately, it's not the job of Federal Marshals to be "hired" and enforce software licensing for a company convicted of overcharging for its products. Is there no other crime that can be targeted, that we have to have Federal Governmental police support for a company?

Re:Nice spin Slashdot.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841092)

I have also developed software for a small company,
and have been in involved in customer support for
a large company.. and have been disgusted at the quality of a lot of software that exists and the eagerness to rush the release of a product. To charge 100s or 1000s of dollars for something with hundreds of known bugs really can be considered as "extortion".
Imagine if you used a car for your business and an engine component resulted in the car being unusable, and the car company tells you it will take a week to fix it. Would you be annoyed? Then why should software companies be able to have similar lack of service?

Software companies - improve your customer service and product quality first, then you might have a right to demand payment.

This is precisely what I have been talking about (3, Funny)

xxSOUL_EATERxx (549142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840910)

Note the use of Orwellian doublespeak euphemism in the BSA's chilling press release:

...for whatever reason, some businesses may not have managed their software assets properly
Translation: Robbers! Sinners! Repent, O ye unclean ones!

The Grace Period ...is a great opportunity for businesses to resolve any compliance issues before they become subjects of a BSA investigation.
Translation: the Gestapo is on the way. Grab your ankles and smile.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the voice of the world's software and Internet industry
Translation: The BSA is out to squeeze every last possible dollar out of software users

BSA worldwide members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, CNC Software/Mastercam, FileMaker, Macromedia, Microsoft, Symantec, and Unigraphics Solutions
No comment necessary.

Those who scoff at Open Source/GNU should consider whether they want to live in a world where the tentacles of the BSA and their ilk -- and in an increasingly digitized world, expect, oh yes, do expect similar organizations to crop up defending the interests of digital text publishers, media broadcasters, etc.-- extend, oozing, slimy and cold, into every crevice and opening of what we used to quaintly refer to as our "private lives".

Bunch of Crooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840913)

The BSA are a bunch of crooks, they have been threating companies in the UK with similar treatment.

We asked FAST (Fedaration against software theft), the more legitimate company, what to do with this and were advised to throw all notices from the BSA in the bin. Who are we to argue!

Umm, who cares? (1, Troll)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840915)

These people are thieves. Nothing more, nothing less. Why should they be treated any better than a mugger?

Hell, they are treated a lot better. They are given a chance to do the right thing.

Re:Umm, who cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840951)

The problem is that the legal system allows groups like the BSA to initiate action with no reprecussions when the defendant happens to be in the clear. The BSA gets to throw around a lot of clout because companies can't handle the expense of defending against a frivolous BSA lawsuit, even if they are 100% innocent.

Baiting the BSA? (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840997)

How about baiting the BSA? Like if a company runs 100% Free Software, get a "disgruntled employee" to rat them out, and if they call piss them off enough to guarantee an audit. Then when audit day comes, you'll be ready with video cameras, your own lawyers (if you can afford them), and an office full of 100% Free Software. You might try to get a local news station interested in your video or you could make it a documentary film like Michael Moore's.

Re:Umm, who cares? (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841099)

The BSA gets to throw around a lot of clout because companies can't handle the expense of defending against a frivolous BSA lawsuit, even if they are 100% innocent.

But how well do you think the BSA would stand up were they the defendant, rather than the plaintiff?

Re:Umm, who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840972)

Thieves? That is a bit harsh.

When I steal a physical object, like a car from your Mom, she no longer has her car. When I 'steal', software from Gnutella, I am depriving no one of their software, like I deprived your Mother of a car.

I feel it is disingenious to call that stealing or pirating, we should find another term for not paying for software.

Re:Umm, who cares? (2)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841073)

When I 'steal', software from Gnutella, I am depriving no one of their software, like I deprived your Mother of a car.

Sorry, but this argument is typical warez k1dd13 bullshit. Theft is when you illegally deprive someone of something that is rightfully theirs. Software piracy deprives the retailer, distributor and manufacturers of the software you stole of some revenue. You might get some satisfaction from hitting out at the evil corporations, but there is no avoiding the issue that piracy is still theft.

If you can't afford the software then you can either become a criminal, or, you can wake up, smell the roses, and move to the world of free software. It's not always a smooth ride to get there admittedly, but the destination makes it all worth while when you do.

Re:Umm, who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841114)

Theft is when you illegally deprive someone of something that is rightfully theirs.

You mean, like a shop or restaurant owner, who does not pay his protection money?

Software piracy deprives the retailer, distributor and manufacturers of the software you stole of some revenue.

Yeah, indeed that shop-owner deprived the local mob under whose protection he lives of some well-deserved protection money.

You might get some satisfaction from hitting out at the evil corporations, but there is no avoiding the issue that piracy is still theft.

You might get some satisfaction from hitting out at the veil mob, but there is no avoiding the issue that not paying your "tax" is still theft.

And you should not be astonished if one day, some guys in dark suits with baseball bats pay your establishment a kind visit...

"The List" (2)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840921)

I know that I've signed up for magazine trials using business names, my mother's house is even registered at Microsoft because I wanted something for free from them many years ago.

Will they call me? What happens when they show up and see my blank CDs sitting next to my PC? I don't use them for piracy, but I'm betting they will be all over me like flies on shit.

I hope ZDNet hasn't sold them their list from PCWeek magazine, or the like. Do you know how many web sites make you put something down for 'company' or 'job title'. Plenty of sites want that data for marketing, but it doesn't always apply.

Methods, means and policy (4, Insightful)

mpawlo (260572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840923)

From a business perspective the copyright proprietors need to protect their revenue sources. Thus, scaring companies to pay for their product through BSA is one method of achieving this.

Under current copyright and contract law, BSA is free to represent its members and do what's described in this article.

However, I find its methods too severe and too aggressive. BSA should consider helping the companies to comply with licenses rather than scaring them and send in the police. If BSA developed a good license administration tool and released it under the GNU GPL or any open source license with the source code, I think many companies would improve in their license compliance.

Some companies will steal anything they can, but most companies are serious and should not be treated as criminals. Doing a good license audit today is very costly and hard to administer for a small or medium sized company. BSA should treat the potential costumers of its members with respect and appreciate this problem. Developing an administrative solution and perhaps a license crawling spider - with very open code - is a much better way of helping the companies than by using cease-and-desist-letters.

Hence, BSA should consider a different and more customer friendly policy. We, the public, should consider an evalutation of the copyright system [newsforge.com] for computer programs at large.

Regards

Mikael

I am 100% supportive of this... (5, Insightful)

bani (467531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840928)

And let me explain why.
(moderators: this is not a troll.)

The harder the BSA come down on companies like a ton of bricks, the more attractive open source alternatives will be.

The microsoft licensing schemes are so convoluted that even if you buy stuff from legit resellers bundled with your PCs, you still may be technically in violation of m$ licensing, depending on how your software is being used.

It's almost impossible for large corporations to be 100% sure of total compliance, even if all their software is purchased legitimately. And the BSA knows this. It's exactly like the mafia's "protection" racket.

Fortunately corporations now have a legit means of escape. Replace NT servers with Linux ones. The cost of switching to Linux might be high, but often the cost of having to "get compliant" is higher. And Linux is a one time cost, whereas you can be assured the BSA will be knocking on your door regularly if they think they can get away with it.

So I say bring on the BSA gestapo! They will be inadvertently helping promote open source alternatives, it's better promotion than Linux could ever buy (though we can exploit the situation if we choose :-)

Re:I am 100% supportive of this... (5, Insightful)

krmt (91422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840964)

The flipside is that if they comply, and the majority will, they will find that they have invested enormous amounts of money in the software now, and they are damn sure going to get their worth out of it! This will close up chances for Free Software on these kinds of systems, because no business is going to replace their brand new expensive software with Linux after paying out the ass.

I'm more scared about this personally. These companies, particularly Microsoft, are so well entrenched that they can do this. It means that they have the majority of companies by the balls, and they can do what they will to them. Sure, Free stuff will seem attractive, but the bottom line is that they will want to get the maximum value out of their investment. Scary.

Re:I am 100% supportive of this... (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840991)

no business is going to replace
their brand new expensive software with Linux after paying out the ass.


No, but when they realize that they are being harassed even though they paid "out the ass", they might remember this next time they need new software.

GASP options (1)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840929)

Gee I went to their GASP download page [bsa.org] but could only find the versions for 9x, NT and OS8.0 what about people with real^H^H^H^H alternative OS's? I suppose anyone running OSX or linux can just grease up and bend over.

Oh and I hope they encoded those mp3's [bsagrace.com] with a legal codec ;-)

RIAA (5, Insightful)

inKubus (199753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840930)

Imagine if the RIAA sent a card to every person in America asking them to sign a statement saying they don't own any pirated music, and if they don't sign, you can be raided by federal marshalls for suspicion of piracy. A long time ago, I thought 2002 would be a good year. Finally peace on Earth, regular space missions, a moon base, etc. Instead we have endless bickering over a few dollars worth of binary digits that somehow do something that is expected to be traded for money or something else of value. A few dollars worth of binary digits that, if you refuse to Opt Out of a legal battle by signing a statement, will mean you are subject to illegal search and seizure. This would be like the Government sending a card for everyone to sign stating they "don't have any illegal weapons" and if you don't sign, you are immediately suspected of owning illegal weapons. Whatever happened to the 5th Amendment? Whatever happened to being innocent until PROVEN guilty? Are they going to take that right away now?

mod that up! (1)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840942)

mod the parent of this up. mod this post down

Don't forget the kids! (5, Funny)

Wee (17189) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840931)

Whatever you do, don't forget to indoctrinate the kids [bsa.org] as part of your campaign for social justice for software licensing. And remind the kids what they can do when they find a pirate [bsa.org] . You may think of a pirate as mom or dad, but they are really thieves who should be reported immediately. As Chad Codemaster knows, there can be no innovation if software is copied [bsa.org] . God forbid what would happen if the actual source to a program got released to the thieving masses. How would a developer eat?

-B

Why is the BSA running Apache on FreeBSD ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2840937)

If the BSA is so concerned with the royalties for
their members, why are they running Apache on FreeBSD ? Now how do you like them apples :-).

Re:Why is the BSA running Apache on FreeBSD ? (1)

daemonc (145175) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840974)

Same reason everyone else runs it: They don't want their web server to get r00ted every other day.

Had a call from BSA once ... (3, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840961)

They offered to help me track down potential license infrigements. And certainly, I could provide him with a list of software I'm using.

The comical effect was lost as the clueless telemarketer could'nt find "lunix", "apache" and "perl" in his list.

"It's open-s... nevermind, I have a meeting bye"

How's the law ? (2)

Molina the Bofh (99621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840962)

I don't know how the law in America is, but I believe the marshalls would need a judge order to invade a business place, wouldn't they ? Or can they simply break in any place they feel like and confiscate everything?

It's also my understanding that this judge order would require some kind of piracy proof to be issued.
Wouldn't it create the chicken-and-egg problem ?

How does it work ?

Fuck you, slashdot. (2, Troll)

GoRK (10018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840971)

No matter how you hype it, it's just not legal for a company to own (or sometimes not) a single copy of Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office and run it on 10's or 100's of computers. Somebody has to enforce the law or it breaks down. Incedentally, it's the same copyright law that keeps your GPL software free that they are protecting!

If they scare off their customers, GOOD! The companies have the option not to use proprietary licensed software, maybe if they get some fines, they'll consider the alternatives.

Jesus christ, they aren't sending Federal Marshalls storming into a business for no reason. That could not happen without some sort of precident. I don't believe that the BSA has ever done this and not uncovered mountains of software license violations.

Some of you editors are such fucking hypocrites to cry foul and hire in the gestapo when some company viloates the GPL in *A SINGLE CASE* yet you bitch and moan about your rights and privacy when Microsoft hires BSA to uncover *TENS OF THOUSANDS* of violations to their licenses. What's worse is that I probably hate M$ more than you do, but if there's one thing I can't stand, it's a stupid person. michael and chrisd are topping this list right about now.

~GoRK

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. (3, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2840986)

" No matter how you hype it, it's just not legal for a company to own (or sometimes not) a single copy of Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office and run it on 10's or 100's of computers. Somebody has to enforce the law or it breaks down. "

This somebody is supposed to be the "police" and "justice", or it breaks down.

"Incedentally, it's the same copyright law that keeps your GPL software free that they are protecting! "

The GPL uses the copyright system against itself. Without copyright, there would be little need for GPL.

Why this is legal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841013)

I summarize why this is legal in my post here [slashdot.org] .

Basically, I'm saying that since they're merely telling you that they have reason to believe you might be doing something bad doesn't mean they're doing anything legally. What they send you doesn't mean jack, until they sue you in a court of law.
IANAL.

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. (1)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841023)

So how well do you think it would be recieved if the Free Software Foundation went around threatening businesses in a similar way the BSA does. Would you be surprised if they hired US Marshalls and seized developers PC's to make sure there was no GPL violations. Hell, I would.

I agree that there should be contols in place to prevent software piracy, however threats and scare tactics should not be the standard policy. On the other hand, I think you are right that harsh and unfair punishment and tactics on their part are likely to lead more people to free software solutions in the end. However I'm still not going to agree with the means.

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. (5, Insightful)

Cryogenes (324121) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841055)


Jesus christ, they aren't sending Federal Marshalls storming into a business for no reason. That could not happen without some sort of precident. I don't believe that the BSA has ever done this and not uncovered mountains of software license violations.

Did you read in the article that the BSA were sending like 700.000 of these threats at a time?
Obviously, all the evidence they need for sending someone a letter is that they run a business.

OK, now suppose your business has a clear policy of never using pirated software. So what can you do?

1. You run the self-audit software. It is closed-source spyware, you have no idea what it will report, and you cannot expect any compensation if it breaks your mission-critical machine. This is an ugly option and there is no good reason why a honest businessman should be subjected to it. And nobody, guilty or innocent, would subject themselves to this voluntarily.

2. You "refuse to cooperate". Then you will get a visit from law enforcement, probably greatly disrupting your operation. Moreover, if they find anything wrong - your sysadmin made a mistake, or some stupid employee downloaded a serial number for Winzip - then you will have to pay for the exercise. Even if everything is actually perfect, something may be construed against you and you will face further expenses defending yourself.

Now tell me again that this is only fair.

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. & Fuck you to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841060)

There is no such things as justice or 'the law' in 'the free world'.

Justice is bought. Presidents are bought. Everything is for sale and has his price.

And Bill G., the poor lad, needs your money now to save his ass in court.

Have a nice day...

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. & Fuck you to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841083)

...Presidents are bought...

Fortunately, we have pretzels to teach this guy some humility ;-)

Re:Fuck you, slashdot. (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841081)

No matter how you hype it, it's just not legal for a company to own (or sometimes not) a single copy of Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office and run it on 10's or 100's of computers.

?Acually there is a fairly obvious situation where this would be perfectly "legal" That is where the company in question has the relevent licences.

dear cmdrtaco (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841001)

I heard from a friend that you are giving out the stolen windows source, I suggest you stop as this will not help the linux movement at all!

test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841004)

test

Extortion? (3, Insightful)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841006)

Let's put this perspective. Let's say that I own a business manufacturing foo X's, and I have a friend who manufactures a related product (foo Y). We know that we are being illegally deprived of millions of dollars annually, but the law doesn't adequately protect us. We have been in our particular industry for a long time, and we each know of many other businesses in a similar situation. We form an alliance with all of these businesses, and we work with the government to help stop the crimes against us.

Suddenly, by announcing a grace period for these criminals, we are extortionists? Since when did extortion include benevolence?

The legal definition of extortion is: the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right. 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).

The key words here are wrongful use. Is it wrong, when someone has stolen something from you, to offer them a conditional amnesty? You steal from me, and not some hypothetic company, and I'll do everything I can to see you put in jail.

Calling this extortion is akin to the robbery victim who pleads on the news for the return of his wallet - no questions asked - and all will be forgiven: is the victim then the extortionist?

I note that Borland, the developers of Kylix, is a member of the BSA. Are they evil for expecting people to pay for some of their products? Or, because Microsoft is also a member, does that mean that OF COURSE it is extortion, and OF COURSE the federal marshals are mercenaries? Or will the federal marshals be exempted when they are protecting your ass on an airliner?

Is that the equation? Federal Marshals On Airlines = Good Guys, Federal Marshals Helping Microsoft/the BSA = Bad Guys? And if the BSA are really extortionists, does that make the marshals guilty of aiding and abetting?

Re:Extortion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841121)

Is it wrong, when someone has stolen something from you, to offer them a conditional amnesty?

It is wrong if a cop stops you for speeding, and then says: "Good morning, that's $150. But we can cut a deal for $50 if you don't need a receipt". Even if you did actually speed.

What is it like? (3, Insightful)

labradore (26729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841010)

I suppose BSA members have decided for themselves that they would rather attack people and instill fear and loathing to acquire money rather than to share what they have at no cost to themselves. On that basis the BSA activities sound immoral. The BSA member would seem to choose distrust of fellow men over community, generosity or respect. The BSA member does have a legitimate need to get a return on investment. Would you attack others as the BSA does to extract money if you already had what you needed? If you had more or much more than you needed? The wealthiest companies in the BSA are highly immoral by this standard.

If you were a struggling proprietary commercial software developer would you join the BSA? Would you want to be associated with the immoral wealthiest companies and individuals in its ranks?

I think a better tactic to use to keep the majority of your user group in the paying customer category is to make your product worth buying and to make your product more valuable when it is purchased from you. By virtue of its (limited) success RedHat seems to be a company that exemplifies this tactic since its product is available free almost everywhere but people and companies still buy its products and it is very nearly profitable. A proprietary software developer should have no problem finding ways to make its product more attractive to buy than to copy, since it doesn't have the handicap of selling Free software.

Re:What is it like? (2)

wfberg (24378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841053)

"The BSA member does have a legitimate need to get a return on investment"

while copyright is a legitimate right, there is NO such thing as a right on ROI. What next, companies sueing you for NOT buying OR illegally copying their software, therefore cutting off their main supplies of income, sales and litigation? Methinks not.

Now hold on a minute... (4, Insightful)

LadyLucky (546115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841019)

I'm a software developer. I write java web applications. I would be extrememly pissed off to find out that someone is pirating my software, somewhere. If they do that, they deserve everything coming to them.

People will always find some excuse for piracy, but until someone is pirating YOUR software, i really dont think you have any right to excuse yourself. It's theft of intellectual property. Don't do it, even if you have philosophical problems with Microsoft.

I'm a software developer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841105)

I write games. There are ROMs of my old games on the net. I don't care. I've already been paid. Perhaps they will create interest in a sequel. If the sites hosting them have glowing reviews and name the developers it boosts my ego. The company that published the games very likely *does* care, because it will want to release those games again, on new hardware (especially Game Boy Advance). Sheesh, the copyright holders have rereleased Pong and Gridrunner and Super Mario Bros 2 recently! Look at how many cover songs there are out there (and how song-writers are raking it in from back catalog, unlike games developers).

Don't believe the hype (2)

vandan (151516) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841028)

These guys are nothing more than SPAMMERS.
So they have a database. Big woop; so do SPAMMERS.
Our company took the path "Oh SHIT. Buy licences for all our software, and QUICK!". Of course I managed to make a 30% saving by installing StarOffice 5.2, and then 6-beta. I suggest everyone else do the same. There are issues; there's no denying that it's 100% compatible etc. But for God's sake, it's sooooooooo close that it doesn't matter. So everyone find a friend who has downloaded StarOffice 6-beta (the beta period / download is over), or better yet have a go at OpenOffice [openoffice.org] . It rocks. And you'll never have licensing problems again. Still not convinced? How about searching on Google for StarOffice + pdf and following the instructions for setting up your own PDF writer via Ghostscript. It works like a fucking charm! People email us and say "Hey. That must have cost a bit...". And we say "Yes. Actually it was all free." Good stuff.
If someone can't find the PDF instructions, reply to this post and I'll email you the instructions.

Hey!! (1)

mip (534317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841034)

No fair! How come the bad guys get to be called the Alliance? We're the rebels dammit! Bah, next thing someone will tell me N'Sync use Linux and are writing a handy little tool under the GPL...

~Dan

Is the BSA multinational? (3, Funny)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841052)

I went to the BSA site, and was reading the recent raids when I read this exerpt
Raided were Espina, Perez-Espina & Associates, an architectural and construction company located at the 2nd floor, The House of Architects, Juana Osmeña Ext., Cebu City, and, Arlington Engineering Services, an engineering design firm in Green Valley Subdivision, Lahug, Cebu City.

The NBI, after securing search warrants from Judge Benigno Gaviola of Cebu City Regional Trial Court, found four PCs of Espina, Perez-Espina & Associates allegedly loaded with unlicensed Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft software. The NBI seized 13 PCs allegedly loaded with Autodesk software from Arlington Engineering Services. Total assets, including hardware and software, confiscated from the two raids was valued at almost P5 million pesos.


Well this just gives me terrified thoughts of the frito bandito crashing through my window screaming "BADGES? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN BADGES!"

Commercial Break.... (2, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841054)

I have this idea for a Linux commercial for any distributor who wants to run it...

Scene: People working at PCs in Office
Suddenly the door bursts open and in come a group of lawyers accompanied by Federal Marshals

Lawyer: "Business Software Alliance! We're here to check all your software licences. If you are running illegal software you may be fined thousands of ponds and go to jail for 5 years. Here's our search warrant"

Manager: (smug grin) "Go ahead - we're all running Linux!"

Exit BSA....

BSA are obviously afraid of the OSS movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841057)

The BSA are afraid of Linux and OSS

There's a good reason for the BSA to 'clean up' as much illegality now while they can. I truly believe that the BSA are scared of the incoming FREE software such as Linux, since it means they'll all be out of jobs.

In the same way as a road safety inspector might dread the onset of cars that don't crash (fearing his unemployment when accidents no longer happen).

The point I am trying to make is that the BSA clearly aren't in it for altruistic reasons. They're there because they can be.

X.

BSA/M$ driving businesses to open source options (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2841059)

My boss got a letter from these dweebs. He owns the business and he had me look at it, since I'm a top employee.

We thought to have someone file an anonymous report and draw them over here. Just for laughs.

I am the chief technician, and got this job by offering to put all his legal records on a SQL database. I got him set up on a Linux based network and now he gets his data via a web based app that he can access at work, on the road, or wherever. We even have a Linux based file server.

Three workstations are here and they all run RedHat and open source software. Even the secretary has no problem working with it. KOffice, and konqueror. With KDE, who the fsck needs Windows? Our secretary put on her dumbest hat and had us tweak her workstation for all of 2 hours to make it even more comfortable and easy to use than her Windows box at home. She hasn't seen an application crash in like forever.

Bill Gates wept.

Setting up a business with Linux is so easy. A baby could do it. We sent a reply to the BSA stating, basically, that we use open source software and dweebs like them will make sure we evangelize other businesses to do the same.

And we back that up. I have 2 contracts to fulfill this month and next... both are businesses that want to chuck M$ and go with RedHat.

Happened in Romania too (1)

philipx (521085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841080)

The BSA occasionally flexes their muscles in Romania too. Of course, they're mainly pushed by Microsoft as it is their biggest contributor.
Software piracy rate in Romania is a like 80% or so. So, naturally, their main target are students (i.e. "pirates") selling 5-10 disc copies and other companies nobody really ever heard of.
Every once in a while they start raiding, give some fines and take some poor bastards and make them give tearful statements like: "I'm sorry I've used pirate software, I'll never do it again".
I rarely heard them picking on software companies - their main target are accounting and the such.
I wish they'd pick more on software companies. Why ? Well, I worked for a number of small companies, 50 employees top, and the policy was : buy a copy of SoftwareX and everybody installs it. I don't think it's fair, but due to economic conditions in Romania everybody does it (would you expect somebody to pay $180 for a copy of MSWindows when the average income per month is $100-150 ?! same goes for companies).
I really think that if software companies would be raided, they'd switch to Open Source. One of the biggest "problems" with Open Source - support wouldn't be such an issues since pretty much everybody in a software company is a programmer :-).
Yes it can happen. At a previous company I worked for, BSA send some announcements (i.e. threats). As we had few licenses of W2K Server (and of course everybody had W2K Server installed), we kept the W2KS only on few computer (web-servers for ASP development) while most of us programmers installed Linux...

My point is that maybe BSA is, in a strange and twisted way, a temporary yet convenient ally of the free world. Probably until they realize bloatware is loosing terrain...

French BSA (4, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 12 years ago | (#2841089)

In France, the BSA had no legal presence (though they usually "spammed" people with their piracy-detection floppies and other funny letters.).
That's why an influent French Editor [acbm.com] created an alternative organization : the Bidouilleurs Sans Argent [www.bsa.lu] which promotes the Free and/or free software.
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