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A Look Inside the BSA

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the good-old-boys-or-eye-of-sauron dept.

The Almighty Buck 458

die_jack_die writes: "SFGate is running this article about the Business Software Alliance. I'm sure the BSA loves when they get scary stories of their tactics into the press, but this piece does quote the EFF's Fred Von Lohman making the point that companies who don't want to deal with the BSA can always use Open Source software. Most telling quote: 'every cent of those massive settlements stays within the BSA -- member software organizations receive only the licensing fees.'"

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

efuseekay (138418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970680)

Burn Karma Burn!

F-Pee (-1, Offtopic)

prizzznecious (551920) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970681)

sweet is the taste of victory. SO sweet.

Re:F-Pee (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970839)

and I'm sure you'd have been happy had you experienced that sweet sweet taste of victory ;-

About Fred von Lohmann... (0, Redundant) (89920) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970691)


Fred von Lohmannis a Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specializing in intellectual property law. Before joining EFF, Fred was a visiting researcher with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. His research focused on the impact of peer-to-peer technologies on the future of copyright. Prior to his research fellowship, Fred was an associate with the international law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, concentrating on transactions and counseling involving the Internet and intellectual property. He comments frequently on copyright law and the Internet, including issues related to online music distribution and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and has advised a variety of Internet clients, including Yahoo, Verio, Myplay, and NBCi. Fred has an A.B. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

I apologize (-1, Offtopic)

nixadmin (553533) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970694)

Just in case anybody missed my earlier post - I have to come clean -- I've been Karma whoring. Apologies to any and all who wasted mod points modding me up. Soon as my karma = 0, I'm finished.

Re:I apologize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970921)

Just make a post telling how bad linux sucks, how good microsoft is, why open source is for communists, and how slashdot moderators suck. Oh yeah throw in a link and declare it a first post!

Or, vice-versa... (4, Insightful)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970698)

...making the point that companies who don't want to deal with the BSA [suing them for pirating software] can always use Open Source software

Well, sure, you can use open source or free software whenever you'd like.

You could also simply pay for the proprietary software that you need to use rather than stealing it. If I had my own company, I would make certain that we ran things properly, which would involve, among other things, not pirating software.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (5, Insightful)

cmowire (254489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970712)

That's not the big problem here. The big problem is when the BSA goes after a company who is careful about their software licensing, but who didn't keep good enough records.

Do you keep every single receipt? Remember what the article said, the box is not enough. The license often gets tossed out and only the manuals and maybe the box kept. And the receipt gets thrown out after some time.

Does Fry's or Radio Shack visit my house on occasion to make sure that I can prove to them that every little piece of electronics in my house hasn't been stollen? Do the grocery stores inspect my fridge to make sure I didn't some sausages down my pants last time I shopped?

Re:Or, vice-versa... (5, Interesting)

ekrout (139379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970764)

Does Fry's or Radio Shack visit my house on occasion to make sure that I can prove to them that every little piece of electronics in my house hasn't been stollen?

Listen, buddy. As Richard Stallman points out, software is an entire different entity. It's very easily copied. It's easy to take those copies and transfer them. Therefore, the amount of damage that can be done by pirating software is massive and much larger than other more tangible products.

And please don't give me the "well software should be free" argument. There are some custom applications that would never have been started (or completed) in the open source / free software world that are necessary for many folks. Using that as an excuse for pirating software is like saying an attractive woman deserves to get raped.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (2, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970778)

Okay, to put it another way, does Stephen King come to your house to make sure you don't have pirated copies of his books?

Regarding 'software should be free,' I don't agree that there should be a total lack of copyright, but the value of an _ideal_ copyright scheme does not legitimize all copyright schemes.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970866)

Stephen King couldn't come to his house. Didn't you read the news? He's dead!

Re:Or, vice-versa... (5, Interesting)

cmowire (254489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970826)

Oh, don't get me wrong. I wholeheartedly believe that it should be possible and encouraged for companies to charge for their software. You have spent too much time with Stallman wanabees that you are confusing that with my general distaste for strong-arm tactics.

My point is, there are three categories that we can break companies down into. There are the companies who are anal and legal, where they make sure that every software license is recorded and accounted for. There are the companies who figure that it's their god-given right to pirate software. And then there are the companies who are, in fact, legal, but don't have the necessary documentation to convince the BSA, nor the money to fight them in court.

The problem is that the BSA has done a knockout job of convincing corporations, especially large ones, to stay legal. Which leaves them the small companies, individuals, and strong-arm tactics to milk money from companies who don't necessarily keep good records.

I mean, the biggest problem that most companies face with respect to software licenses right now is not any malicious effort on the part of the management, but instead the employee who installs Photoshop off of the network drive just because it hasn't been locked up properly and he/she doesn't quite understand that the company doesn't have a site license for everything.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970846)

Get a clue, dude. Cmowire made no comments about supporting piracy or "software should be free." The major point here, in case your head has been too dense to absorb it, is that these guys are going after people who have legimately paid for their software licenses, but no longer have all the paperwork to back up their purchase. Almost nobody keeps receipts for too long. And the license sometimes finds its way into the garbage accidentally. On top of that, changes in licensing requirements have left some businesses who didn't understand the change in a questionable status. But here's the most disturbing thing. These jerks are intruding into peoples' businesses without what I'd consider probable cause and using other questionable scare tactics. My opinion is that unless they have an "inside tip" from a company, they have no authority or business auditing you. Mere failure on one's part to dignify their questioning with a response should not be considered grounds for a search warrant.

My turn to feed the trolls, I guess.... (5, Interesting)

Carter Butts (245607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970850)

Listen, buddy. As Richard Stallman points out, software is an entire different entity. It's very easily copied. It's easy to take those copies and transfer them. Therefore, the amount of damage that can be done by pirating software is massive and much larger than other more tangible products.

Actually, your argument implies precisely the opposite: since the act of unauthorized copying does not remove the initial item being copied, such an act clearly does less damage in any conventional sense of the term than theft (i.e., the illegal removal of tangible goods). Indeed, unauthorized copying (in the context being discussed) can do only hypothetical damage to anyone, since the "damage" claim rests entirely on the hypothetical counterfactual that the copier would have purchased a copy if he/she had not instead resorted to unauthorized means.

In any event, this is a non-sequiteur: the amount of "damage" which could, in principle, be done by unauthorized copying does not legitimately motivate the pre-emptive search of businesses or individuals for which there is not already reasonable grounds to suspect unauthorized copying. One does not have the authority to arbitrarily search others on the grounds that they may have committed some infraction against you; that firms have allowed the BSA to get away with such behavior is IMHO quite scandalous.


Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970875)

Listen, buddy. As Richard Stallman points out, software is an entire different entity.

I'm sorry you're so confused, but there really is no difference. I walk into a store. I hand them some money. I walk out with a product. Period. I don't care if it's a TV, pair of shoes, can of soda, copy of Windows or a new car. I take that product home, the company who made it can fuck off.

The only difference is that software companies have put absurd and unenforcable licensing agreements in place of the standard copyright notices. Are they legal? Probably not. Has anyone devoted the time and $$$$ to taking the matter to court? Don't know, but I doubt it. Instead, everyone's scared of big companies.

BSA or Microsoft comes to me with a "violating" or "audit" notice? Piss off. You got enough evidence, you take me to court. And I'll sue your ass into the days of yore.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (4, Insightful)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970909)

Logical fallacy #1: Copyright infringement is a HELL of a lot less severe than rape or piracy. (The later of which used to result in a death penalty without trial. The only reason it still does not is because we've killed all the pirates.)

Logical fallacy #2: Using RMS' philosophy to support one part of your argument, while directing another part towards knocking out the foundations of said argument. Software should be free to redistribute because making an additional copy has zero marginal cost.

Logical fallacy #3: Exactly what damage is done by copyright infringement of software? My having a copy doesn't mean that you have fewer copies. Does my having a copy of your software do more damage to you than my stealing a truckful of electronics from Radio Shack does to them?

Logical fallacy #4: If said applications did not exist, and there was a need felt for them, someone would provide them. (Under contract, if necessary) If they did not exist and no need was felt for them, they are unnecessary.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970919)

"It's no good to show me a software box," says Blank. "We need proof of ownership, and that's a dated invoice." "It's a good idea to have a document-retention policy for your company," says Kruger. "If you don't keep documentation and you don't have any ability to show you own your software, it's a problem -- there's a point at which sloppiness can get you into trouble!"

Isn't the point of a software license to prove your ownership?
I work for a government agency and we have to turn in all our receipts. Yes I could have made copies but I always assumed that the physical CD, and or license was proof of ownership. Otherwise, what is the point of keeping that stuff.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (1)

fobbman (131816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970964)

Hey dude, you mind if I copy that huge set of Optimus speakers you have over there? How many CD-R's you think it'll take?

Re:Or, vice-versa... (3, Interesting)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970741)

Well, sure, you can use open source or free software whenever you'd like. You could also simply pay for the proprietary software that you need to use rather than stealing it.

If you do s/need/choose/ I'd tell you I couldn't have said it better myself. Stealing is wrong. So is wasting the investors' money on the Bill Gates and Larry Ellison Retirement Fund. Therefore, you should choose not to use proprietary software. Of course, if you do choose to use it, you should pay for it and follow all terms of the license.

Seriously, the FSF should join the BSA in licensing crackdowns. It's called "product differentiation."

Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970913)

Therefore, you should choose not to use proprietary software.

Yeah, but not proprietary software sucks.

I mean just take a look at linux, compared to Win2k it's a peice of shit.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (2)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970742)

...making the point that companies who don't want to deal with the BSA [suing them for pirating software] can always use Open Source software [Comments in brackets his]

The issue is always not dealing with a BSA suit. What about dealing with BSA threats? What if they want to investiage you because of rumors or lies? What happens if you own 12 copies of Windows and 12 machines, but due to admin carelessness, two machines use the same serial number?

You could also simply pay for the proprietary software that you need to use rather than stealing it.

That won't stop their threats. That won't nessecarily stop them from investigating you. Even if all your software is legal, they can still waste your time going through your records on the matter.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970752)

"Well, sure, you can use open source or free software whenever you'd like. "

They are paying for open source software. The cost is downloading it...because it is *gasp* free! Are you saying that proprietary software is better because it costs money? Some free products are just as good, and some software-for-profit are just plain BAD. It has little to do with COST. No one is going to use something that absolutely sucks just because it is free, and few will pay for excessivly priced software. But if you want to dump tons of money on crap, then good for you, you are contributing to the economy just like GW says you should. End of story. Just don't expect others to pay for crap.

P.S. I do use and have PURCHASED for-profit software, but not because I like wasting money on crap. And yes I do use free software, but only when it is good. So there.

I'm sure YOU might, but... (3, Informative)

mikey504 (464225) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970779)

when you have 100 or so employees milling about, you would be amazed what kind of stuff they will drag in and install when you aren't looking.

And yes, I know all about policy editors and drive imaging and a lot of other things you can do to try to keep them from messing around with the systems or clean up after them when they leave for the day.

The bottom line is, like a lot of other companies, we spend a measurable amount of time and money on compliance issues every year even though we have never pirated software. If it weren't for the BSA, or more precisely our ties to products made by their member companies (thanks AutoDesk), this would be much less of an issue for us.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970796)

I love how any anti-Slashdot (i.e. paying for some software *gasp*) gets modded down into tarnation.

This is the very reason why people finally stop reading the site, and also why some troll it.

Think about it (UID of 90% of posts these days are from 400,000+ users).

Re:Or, vice-versa... (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970801)

except when some yahoo employ installs something he has at home.
But tnats not really the point is it? Its about someone being ably to put you and your company ion a position of having to proe your innocents, as opposed to defend it. The worse part is The BSA will audit anybody, even based n anonymous tips, without substantiation. so could call up, and the next thing you know, your being audited. Then I let your share holders no, now your business could take a dip, and not recover.
\Not to mention, the BSA billboards give me that "If your good, you'd tell on your parents" kind of creepiness.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970861)

I know someone that was audited by the BSA and decided to fight it. Basically they countered by stating they wanted full disclosure of who reported them so as to determine the validity of the claim prior to wasting internal resources and dollars. They also argued that the reporting tools are a violation of privacy. Yes, they expected them to place some software on their network which scans their entire network not to mention each machine's registry. Third, they also argued that even if they were in violation of license, the license is between them and the vendor (after all, the license does not allow for the BSA as having legal proxy interests) and unless the vendor in questions decides that they'd like to personally persue the issue, the BSA does not have legal authority or the legal grounds to persue the action. Furthermore, they argued that even if something odd was discovered and they lost, only the government has the right to impose fines on legal matters as such and they would be within their legal rights to simply purchase any outstanding licenses or settle directly with the vendor in question and completely dismiss the BSA altogether thereby eliminating the need to pay any fines or added fees.

Last I heard, even though two ex-employees had turned them in, the BSA simply walked from the issue as, from what I gathered, they really don't have a legal leg to stand on.

Re:Or, vice-versa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970890)

Hey, the point of the article (reread it) is that the tactics of the BSA, for instance threatening letters, are threatening in and of themselves. Whether they catch you doing something wrong or not doesn't matter. It still sucks to have them knocking at your door and asking to "see your papers".

Box not enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970699)

If a PO is necessary to prove ownership, why include "Genuine Microsoft Software" cards with fancy shmancy holographics and irreproducible designs?

BSA sniffing around (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970704)

My employer is probably a good target, as a public institution for their audits. They've been sniffing around here in the past few weeks, under the guise of performing surveys. My guess is they'll show up for an audit later, using the gathered information as the basis for their audit. As a public institution we can't exactly tell them to bugger off. I hope we've got good records, as I've followed this topic on /. for the past few months, and used it to advise folks. Thanks to posters, /. and others who've reported on things. It's been very helpful.

Re:BSA sniffing around (2)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970723)

Be prepared to get somebody (preferably law enforcement) to guard your telecom closet so they don't start cutting cables and your (if you have one) t1 loop. I have heard stories that they go into places, kill the LAN, and cut the t1 loop as soon as they can get into the telecom closet.

Re:BSA sniffing around (2)

dougmc (70836) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970756)

I have heard stories that they go into places, kill the LAN, and cut the t1 loop as soon as they can get into the telecom closet.
Interesting. Why would they do this?

Re:BSA sniffing around (2)

cmowire (254489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970768)

To prevent people from "destroying the evidence." I.e. somebody in the backroom removing software from the server.

The real reason's probably largely to start the audit on the right foot -- i.e. their foot to your neck.

Re:BSA sniffing around (2)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970775)

Well think about it, information is power, plus the BSA's whole purpose is to hurt who they deem as offenders as much as possible. Cutting data circuits, and the lan down means no more email, no more webserver, no voip pbx if you have one, no phone lines if they go over your loop, thus, your company is dead in the water.

Re:BSA sniffing around (1)

Carter Butts (245607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970912)

Be prepared to get somebody (preferably law enforcement) to guard your telecom closet so they don't start cutting cables and your (if you have one) t1 loop. I have heard stories that they go into places, kill the LAN, and cut the t1 loop as soon as they can get into the telecom closet.

*Chuckle* I wonder what happens the first time that a BSA employee (not a govt. official) tries this in the wrong firm, and someone shouts "terrorist!" :-)

For that matter, it wouldn't unduly surprise me if this would legally constitute terrorism these days. Last I checked, the dread "t-word" could be invoked for just about anything up to saying "excuse me" in an overly menacing tone of voice....


Opening the door for the OSSA (3, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970708)

this piece does quote the EFF's Fred Von Lohman making the point that companies who don't want to deal with the BSA can always use Open Source software.
SHHH! Don't say that too loud. MS might catch on and release one "open source" product under a special license that requires users to submit to searches by the soon-to-be-formed subsidiary of the BSA: The Open Source Software Alliance!

Never piss off your Sys Admin (4, Interesting)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970718)

It's a bad idea to fire your Sys Admin. They generally know where you've cut corners.

A pissed Sys Admin can probably put you out of business.

Re:Never piss off your Sys Admin (2)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970820)

Most sysadmins will not do that. Most sysadmins have a high level of loyalty to where they work, and are much too lazy to even lift up the phone and call whatever that number is? 1800rulegit?

Re:Never piss off your Sys Admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970871)

Fired sysadmins have a high level of loyalty to the company that fired them?

Page-Widening Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970721)

Just kidding!

Countersuit (3)

Aexia (517457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970724)

I know many businesses and people have received the threatening letters that are sent out irrespective of whether they've bought anything from BSA members.

What's the legal term for threatening someone with legal action but not following through with it? Barratry?

It'd be interesting to see someone with balls and cash/time to burn file suit against the BSA to make a point...

Re:Countersuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970814)

barratry (from the dictionary at
n. creating legal business by stirring up disputes and quarrels, generally for the benefit of the lawyer who sees fees in the matter. Barratry is illegal in all states and subject to criminal punishment and/or discipline by the state bar, but there must be a showing that the resulting lawsuit was totally groundless. There is a lot of border-line barratry in which attorneys, in the name of being tough or protecting the client, fail to seek avenues for settlement of disputes or will not tell the client he/she has no legitimate claim.

Abuse? (3, Interesting) (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970734)

Lets see, tell them off, then they raid you. Not because they have proof, but because you refuse to spend your money, time, and effort to appease them.

Sounds ripe for a malicious prosecution claim.

slight slashdot bias? (1, Troll)

MathJMendl (144298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970735)

scary stories of their tactics into the press
Scary stories of their tactics? What tactics do you mean? All they really are doing is collecting money for companies that illegally use their software. They lose lots of money each year to businesses who would have bought more copies of their software otherwise, but simply choose to buy one and install it on each computer. This is stealing, and if they don't want to buy the price, they simply shouldn't use the software.

When other alternatives like open source software exist, they really have no excuse for shortcutting the license. While I don't like hearing of associations like the MPAA and RIAA beating up on the little guy, software piracy, simply put, is illegal. These companies are just collecting their due money.

And cmon, maybe Microsoft doesn't make quality software, but Macromedia sure does (I rarely buy software, since there are usually free alternatives of everything, but I recently bought some of their stuff with an educational license since it is so darn useful and well made).

Re:slight slashdot bias? (0)

RMSIsAnIdiot (556315) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970771)

>>And cmon, maybe Microsoft doesn't make quality software, but Macromedia sure does (I rarely buy software, since there are usually free alternatives of everything, but I recently bought some of their stuff with an educational license since it is so darn useful and well made).

Yes, I'd say that most slashdot users have a problem with paying for something.

Let me illustrate an example. I use Windows. I need to access XDM on a Sun host. So I installed Cygwin with X11 compiled for windows. It worked, kinda. Nevertheless, like with most open-source software, it always fell short of the pay product---I went and bought Exceed. It kicks ass. Fast graphics rendering. Excellent graphical configuration. And a kickass X-server to boot.

Just my $0.02.

Re:slight slashdot bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970822)

Well, what I say is ignore the type of source, and look at it in a non-biased way. If it's open source, of course, then that is great, but for example I use Photoshop a lot and GIMP falls far short. On the other hand, Apache beats everything else, linux rules the server environment, and PHP beats ASP 1000 times over. Too many windows zealots say that linux programs suck, even though there are tons of good ones, whereas linux zealots do the same against windows, even though there are indeed some good windows programs, even if m$ is evil.

Re:slight slashdot bias? (3, Funny)

locust (6639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970808)

Scary stories of their tactics? What tactics do you mean?

Blanket radio ads saying: 'your disgruntled employees will sell you out', 'if you want to get even with your boss, report him', and counting down how many days you had before they were coming to get you. About the only thing that was missing from thier radio comercials was the sound of marching boots, and cries of 'Zig Hiel'.


Re:slight slashdot bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970967)

That should be 'Sieg Heil'.

People like you should be exterminated.

Re:slight slashdot bias? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970810)

The problem is that even when a business is totally legit and running Linux (or some open source variant), the BSA will STILL hire US Marshals to come in and bust up the place.

I've never been in a BSA raid, but I've heard stories of them trying to load Windows-only licensing software on a Solaris box, as well as leaving the company in considerably worse shape than it was before the raid, even if no licensing violations were found. Apparently they burst in through the main door with guns drawn and ask EVERYONE to step away from the computer.

Re:slight slashdot bias? (2, Interesting)

antistuff (233076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970831)

When a company can raid an office with federal marshals with guns behind them, i think its safe to say that it qualifies as scare tactics. They are federal marshals, not mercinaries, and should not be standing behind a company which is out to make money from other peoples wrong doings. Dont they have terrorists to catch?

I look forword greatly to the day that one of these raids ends in a shoot out between the pirates (arrghh matey!) and the marshals. Six dead in an office shoot out over copyright infrindgment. In related news, thousands of woman get raped every year and we dont have the darndest idea who does it.

Remember, if your using pirated software then the terrorists have already won!

Re:slight slashdot bias? (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970876)

The whole - "we don't care if you have the box - you need a receipt."

I have a cup from McDonalds on my desk - but pitched the receipt. You say I didn't buy it, I say I did.

I tend to think that I have some good damn proof that I did.

I can see where if they come in and there are a bunch of gold cd's with "Photoshop" scrawled on top of it with a Sharpie, but having the original media is a good sign of ownership.

Though, I can see where you should have record of the # of licenses if you bought a license pack, but not if you just bought one copy of the sw.

Re:slight slashdot bias? (1)

-=OmegaMan=- (151970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970917)

" ... I recently bought some of their stuff with an educational license ..."

And, most likely, if you use that stuff for anything besides "educational purposes" (ie, any commercial/personal use) you'll be "shortcutting the license."

I'm sorry... (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970736)

...I've never quite understood why the BSA has any power, I'm not sure why companies don't tell them to go fuck off and take their McCarthy hunt elsewhere.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970798)

Because they're authorized by a bunch of major software companies to look for such things.

Re:I'm sorry... (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970952)

Authorized? I'm not sure if that is the word. Microsoft can't authorize someone to come into my office and poke around. I believe only the government can do that, and only with proper documentation (ie. A warrant)

They are paid by the companies to ferret out illegal uses. They get a tip, and I guess they use the as the basis for getting a warrant for a raid, since it is violating federal laws. (does the original company - like MS - need to be involved in the warrant process, cause I can't see how the BSA could have any stake in the infringment - kinda like the argument of NetPD for sony - they are not the copyright holder)

I guess like the article said, the only reason companies put up with this and go along is that it is better than having Federal Marhsalls come in and take all your equipment. seems like a terrible abuse of power, but I wonder which is worse - trying to satisfy the BSA that it's all legal, or showing the feds that it is all legal, as I would think once the feds came in, the BSA would have nothing to do with it anymore.

I wonder what happens if the BSA gets the feds to raid someone and can't find any infractions? Plant a CD-R?

I think probably the first thing to do if contacted by the BSA would be to get to a lawyer. As others have said, a big audit just to satisfy some company who has no real knowledge other than an anonymous tip/tips is outrageous.

Suite Sister Mary - great song!

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Klox (29985) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970956)

Their only power is cash and lawyers, but they don't tend to need them. Mostly what they do is give honest companies a wake-up call, working with companies to make sure they're legal. Most companies aren't trying to rip other companies off, they just don't keep good enough records. The BSA's size just means companies take them seriously and then all they have to ask is "are you legal?" and the company jumps. Even though the BSA can't do anything (without evidence) if you blow them off, big companies would look pretty stupid if they did blow them off (what have they got to hide?), so they give in.

It's not the BSA's goal to drag everyone to court. They'd rather work things out and _help_ the company resolve their violations.

Something about the BSA... (2)

mystery_bowler (472698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970738)

reminds more of the EU than, say, the RIAA.

Where the RIAA is pretty damned ruthlessly effective, the EU has far too much internal squabbling (due to pride, years of political conflict, whatever) to be really effective. Give the EU ten more years of so before they become really, really strong.

Likewise, when I think about the BSA, I think about a bunch of tech companies that often have conflicting agendas. Sure, they want a common set of defenses and legal standards (like the RIAA), but each company individually will look to make the most advantageous moves for itself, which will often undermine the strength of the group. Unless, said company is compensated by the entire group to keep the company from undermining the group.

The BSA doesn't scare me just yet. I'll give them a shorter time than the EU - say 5 years - to become really, really powerful. Until then, the BSA is only as strong as the strongest company within the BSA. As soon as members of the BSA want to make a decision that conflicts with the larger, more powerful companies in the BSA, the big companies will leave the BSA. Or ignore it altogether.

Use Dual Boots (2, Funny)

perlchimp (263475) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970743)

When they come to raid your company, just reboot into linux, bsd, or whatever. Then ask, "What software?"

Re:Use Dual Boots (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970785)

Then weep as they reformat your boxes, install Windows, and run their network software finders.

Re:Use Dual Boots (2)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970792)

I don't think that woudl cut it, they would most likely start taking your computer apart at that point.

Re:Use Dual Boots (2)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970915)

at which point I call my local PD and let them sort out details of search warrants and the like.

The BSA is not a law-enforcement organization sanctioned by any government and as such has no power over me.

NEXT POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970748)

Hey, I have a lot of respect for all you guys who like to eat pussy because there are too few of you out there. And I'm not the only woman who says this. Furthermore, some of you guys who are giving it the old college try are not doing too well, so maybe this little lesson will help you out. When a woman finds a man who gives good head, she's found a treasure she's not going to let go of him too quickly. This is one rare customer and she knows it. She won't even tell her girlfriends about it or that guy will become the most popular man in town. So, remember, most guys can fuck, and those who can usually do it satisfactorily, but the guy who gives good head, he's got it made. []

Most women are shy about their bodies. Even if you've got the world's most gorgeous woman in bed with you, she's going to worry about how you like her body. Tell her it's beautiful, tell her which parts you like best, tell her anything, but get her to trust you enough to let you down between her legs. Now stop and look at what you see.
Beautiful, isn't it?

There is nothing that makes a woman more unique than her pussy.

I know. I've seen plenty of them. They come in all different sizes, colors and shapes; some are tucked inside like a little girl's cunnie and some have thick luscious lips that come out to greet you. Some are nested in brushes of fur and others are covered with transparent fuzz. Appreciate your woman's unique qualities and tell her what makes her special. Women are a good deal more verbal than men, especially during love-making. They also respond more to verbal love, which means, the more you talk to her, the easier it will be to get her off. So all the time you're petting and stroking her beautiful pussy, talk to her about it.

Now look at it again.

Gently pull the lips apart and look at her inner lips, even lick them if you want to. Now spread the tops of her pussy up until you can find her clit. Women have clits in all different sizes, just like you guys have different sized cocks. It doesn't mean a thing as far as her capacity for orgasm. All it means is more of her is hidden underneath her foreskin.

Whenever you touch a woman's pussy, make sure your finger is wet. You can lick it or moisten it with juices from inside her. Be sure, by all means, to wet it before you touch her clit because it doesn't have any juices of its own and it's extremely sensitive. Your finger will stick to it if it's dry and that hurts. But you don't want to touch her clit anyway. You have to work up to that. Before she becomes aroused, her clit is too delicate to be handled.

Approach her pussy slowly. Women, even more so than men, love to be teased. The inner part of her thigh is her most tender spot. Lick it, kiss it, make designs on it with the tip of your tongue. Come dangerously close to her pussy, then float away. Make her anticipate it.

Now lick the crease where her leg joins her pussy. Nuzzle your face into her bush. Brush your lips over her slit without pressing down on it to further excite her. After you've done this to the point where your lady is bucking up from her seat and she's straining to get more of you closer to her, then put your lips right on top of her slit.

Kiss her, gently, then harder. Now use your tongue to separate her pussy lips and when she opens up, run your tongue up and down between the layers of pussy flesh. Gently spread her legs more with your hands. Everything you do with a woman you're about to eat must be done gently.

Tongue-fuck her. This feels divine. It also teases the hell out of her because by now she wants some attention given to her clit. Check it out. See if her clit has gotten hard enough to peek out of its covering. If so, lick it. If you can't see it, it might still be waiting for you underneath. So bring your tongue up to the top of her slit and feel for her clit. You may barely experience its presence. But even if you can't feel the tiny pearl, you can make it rise by licking the skin that covers it. Lick hard now and press into her skin.

Gently pull the pussy lips away and flick your tongue against the clit, hood covered or not. Do this quickly. This should cause her legs to shudder. When you sense she's getting up there toward orgasm, make your lips into an O and take the clit into your mouth. Start to suck gently and watch your lady's face for her reaction. If she can handle it, begin to suck harder. If she digs it, suck even harder. Go with her. If she lifts her pelvis into the air with the tension of her rising orgasm, move with her, don't fight her. Hang on, and keep your hot mouth on her clit. Don't let go. That's what she'll be saying too: 'Don't stop. Don't ever stop!'

There's a reason for that - most men stop too soon. Just like with cock sucking, this is something worth learning about and worth learning to do well. I know a man who's a lousy fuck, simply lousy, but he can eat pussy like nobody I know and he never has trouble getting a date. Girls are falling all over him.

But back to your pussy eating session...There's another thing you can do to intensify your woman's pleasure. You can finger-fuck her while she's enjoying your clit-licking talents. Before, during or after. She'll really like it. In addition to the erogenous zones surrounding her clit, a woman has another extremely sensitive area at the roof of her vagina. This is what you rub up against when you're fucking her. Well, since your cock is pretty far away from your mouth, your fingers will have to do the fucking.

Take two fingers. One is too skinny and three is too wide and therefore can't get deep enough. Make sure they're wet so you don't irritate her skin. Slide them inside, slowly at first, then a little faster. Fuck her with them rhythmically. Speed up only when she does. Listen to her breathing.

She'll let you know what to do. If you're sucking her clit and finger-fucking her at the same time, you're giving her far more stimulation than you would be giving her with your cock alone. So you can count on it that she's getting high on this. If there's any doubt, check her out for symptoms. Each woman is unique. You may have one whose nipples get hard when she's excited or only when she's having an orgasm. Your girl might flush red or begin to tremble. Get to know her symptoms and you'll be a more sensitive lover.

When she starts to have an orgasm, for heaven's sakes, don't let go of that clit. Hang in there for the duration. When she starts to come down from the first orgasm, press your tongue along the underside of the clit, leaving your lips covering the top. Move your tongue in and out of her cunt. If your fingers are inside, move them a little too, gently though, things are extremely sensitive just now.

If you play your cards right, you'll get some multiple orgasms this way. A woman stays excited for a full hour after she's had an orgasm. Do you realize the full impact of that information? The potential? One woman was clocked at 56 orgasms at one sitting. Do you know what effect you would have on a woman you gave 56 orgasms to? She'd be yours as long as you wanted her.

The last advice I have for you is this: After you've made her come, made her your slave by giving her the best head she's ever had, don't leave her alone just yet. Talk to her, stroke her body, caress her breasts. Keep making love to her quietly until she's come all the way down. A man can get off and go to sleep in the same breath and feel no remorse, no sense of loss. But a woman by nature requires some sensitivity from her lover in those first few moments after sex.

Oral sex can be the most exciting sexual experiences you can have. But it's what you make it. Take your time, practice often, pay attention to your lover's signals, and most of all, enjoy yourself.

The G-Spot

This does exist. And in over half of the women out there, it works better than anything else you can do to cause a strong, prolonged orgasm. The original name is the Grafenberg spot, after a doctor, Earnest Grafenberg, who documented the area (which may have been known by people here and there throughout history) in the fifties.

This "spot" is a small "mound" of tissue inside the vagina, between a penny and quarter in size, which responds to being pressed upon. It's almost certainly not the skenes glands, (which are located around the urethra, which is behind the G-spot area), as has been suggested by a few people. In fact, the G-Spot is the tissue in that raised area of the vagina, which has a higher concentration of sexual nerves, and produces hormones similar to those made by the male's prostate gland.

A sort of map to the area -- Imagine your lover lying on her back, legs spread. Your position is between her legs. You would slide a finger inside her vagina, palm up. With your finger straight back, middle finger is best, you would curve it toward yourself, gently, as if you were gesturing to someone to "come here". In doing so, the area you press on should be pretty near her "G-Spot" area. If you know enough to follow the urethra (the tube that leads from the bladder to where the pee comes out), along the inside of her vagina, you may feel a slight swelling (if she's excited) at the point where the g-spot is.

She must be excited, especially if either you or she is new to the g-spot, for the g-spot to have any real effect at all. It's not the ideal area for getting your lover aroused.

But when she is excited, this area (more often than not) is the best way to bring her to orgasm. You work your way back to it gradually, teasing her (typically, this works best) with your fingers, slowly and gently. It's easier to hit the right area with two fingers, but this may not be comfortable for her, depending on how "tight" she is at that moment. When you have your fingers around the right area, try gently pressing, not too quickly. The movement should be fairly rhythmic. It's typically best if you're licking her clitoris (or near it, depending on the woman) at the same time...don't make a big deal out of the "quest", this will often make her feel self-conscious, or distracted. The licking should seem to be the primary activity.

When you find the right area, she should respond by getting more excited. Most of the vagina's inside surface isn't really that sexually sensitive, believe it or not...most of the excitement of randomly inserting fingers is more psychological than from the actual stimulation.

While more complicated techniques work with some women, some of the time, the best basic technique, upon finding the g-spot, is to continue to slowly, rhythmically press on it, while licking her clitoris (for a few women, the labia (lips) are sensitive to licking, too).

This should cause her to build up to an orgasm.

A G-Spot orgasm is different (always, when it works at all) than any other kind women have. It is possible, with some women, to have different qualities and kinds of orgasms from vaginal, clitoral, anal, and even breast stimulation...but with other women, those kinds of orgasms are all pretty much the same. But the G-Spot orgasm not only feels different; it also causes her body to react in a different way.

First, it often causes a "push out" orgasm. The area around, or "above" (farther inside, that is) your fingers seems to swell up or to contract toward the opening of her vagina.

If you find the right combination of pushing back when this happens, and slacking off to let it push out, you can cause (in perhaps half of the women) her orgasm to continue happening, long after normal ones would have subsided. In some women you can even keep her at a "plateau" (raised level) of sexual excitement, like a prolonged orgasm (or a little less than one) afterward, building up to an even bigger climax.

That brings me to another important point; G-Spot orgasms sometimes causes a huge amount (relatively speaking) of lubrication (juices, wetness)...far more than even the most excited woman gets from "conventional" stimulation.

When that extra wetness combines with the push-out orgasm, you get actual a guy, but much better tasting. The built up juices can shoot out in such volume that you, or she, may be afraid that she lost control of her bladder. That is (almost always) not what happened. The fear that she peed can be enhanced by the fact that the urethra is behind the g-spot, so that in rare cases the woman can sometimes get the feeling that she needs to pee, even though she does not.

In reality, in both men and women, enough sexual excitement prevents peeing, unless you try really hard. This is a built-in reflex, because urine is something of a spermicide. The "pee hard-on" that men get in the morning is partially his body taking advantage of this reflex, to keep him from accidentally wetting the bed with the urine that built up while he was sleeping.


Anyone who likes, say, coffee or beer should have no room to complain about the way most women taste. No, I don't mean it tastes like coffee or beer, genius...I mean that beer and coffee are, at best, acquired tastes...they are not naturally pleasant to a human being, no matter how much your addiction to one or both has convinced you otherwise. Most people, whether they remember it or not, had to learn to like the taste of beer/coffee, and had the desire to be Like the Adults to help them along. Well, I'd list taking pleasure in cunnilingus above drinking addictive beverages on the list of things that prove maturity. Aside from that, there's the fact that many people who give it an honest try genuinely enjoy the taste/smell.

Cost of pirating (4, Insightful)

murphj (321112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970749)

From the article:

The BSA estimates that pirated software was responsible for about $3 billion in lost revenues to software publishers in the U.S. in 2000 -- although, to be strictly fair, that number assumes that every copy of stolen software would have been bought if it weren't stolen, which inflates the number somewhat.

It's good to see someone in the press finally taking those numbers with a grain of salt. Somehow I don't think evry kid who downloads Photoshop and Illustrator would have purchased a copy.

The Disgruntled employee (4, Interesting)

crotherm (160925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970759)

How hard would it be for a disgruntled employee to knowingly install software without proper licenses, then call BSA? No where is it mentioned that individuals will suffer, only the company. Of course the company can then take action against the employee if they can find them.

Even if your comapny does pay for all its software, being forced to audit yourself costs money. Unless people making false reports are held liable, this system can and probably will be abused.

Re:The Disgruntled employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970947)

How easy would it be for a disgruntled employee to do something else stupid and illegal to fuck over their former employer? Like, plant crack and call the cops?

Burden of Proof (3, Interesting)

HBergeron (71031) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970767)

Trying to draw on group expertise here - can someone tell me what provisions of which law(s) lay the burden of proof on the the businessman, and not on the accusor?

This sounds like a provision that got slipped through when no one was looking, and the BSA has managed to keep it off the agenda ever since. I imagine the US Chamber of Commerce would get some support from their members to make this law a little more balanced. It's not that I support IP abuse, but the sheer arrogance of a guilty until proven innocent presumption in any piece of legislation is too galling to let pass .

If someone can get me the information (preferably original bill and USC reference) I will happily see it to a place where it can do some good.

BSA? (2, Funny)

MalcalypseTheYounger (398517) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970769)

How did the Boy Scouts of America get wrapped up in all this?

mad at the BSA (5, Offtopic)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970772)

I'm not pissed off that the BSA can sue a company for using unlicensed software. That's fine. Go after them on your own time, with all the legal resources you can afford.

What pisses me off is that they can get the assistance of the US government (in the form of US Marshals) to "raid" companies suspected of using that software.

Why doesn't it work the other way? Why don't we have the US Marshals raid Microsoft when they produce security-hole-ridden software that causes a small business to lose millions? Why should our government always be on the side of the big business?

Re:mad at the BSA (0, Insightful)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970795)

"Why should our government always be on the side of the big business?"

because big business owns your government.

Re:mad at the BSA (0)

e40 (448424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970918)

The fact that the parent was moderated down to 0 shows how naive people are. Have we forgotten Enron already? Just look at how many former Enron (millionaires) work in the Bush administration. Until campaign finance reform is passed, big business will own the government.

Re:mad at the BSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970862)

I can't believe this POS comment got modded up. Essentially a non-comment, writing all the sensationalism that could be written... Its like a Jon Katz article in brief!

Re:mad at the BSA (5, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970867)

By no means just in the US. The BSA has garnered the support of dozens of governments, often in questionable circumstances. In Latin America, there's cases of collusion between government officials and the BSA, in which the government brings the fury of the BSA on companies which are politically unpopular or threatening, or even onto non-governmental and non-profit organizations that are doing work the governments don't like.

Re:mad at the BSA (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970951)

What pisses me off is that they can get the assistance of the US government (in the form of US Marshals) to "raid" companies suspected of using that software.

They do it because there is a law against using unlicensed software. It's called "stealing".

Why don't we have the US Marshals raid Microsoft when they produce security-hole-ridden software that causes a small business to lose millions?

Because there is no law against producing security-hole-ridden software. That's called "caveat emptor".

Why should our government always be on the side of the big business?

Because people who work at "big businesses" are citizens, too.

Man... (3, Funny)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970773)

I didn't realize the Boy Scouts of America were so evil.

Re:Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970849)

Hell, their motto is "Be prepared"; what did you expect?

Well well well now. (1)

phoenix_orb (469019) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970776)

From the article:

And just where does the BSA get most of its leads on whom to bust? That's right -- from pissed-off ex-employees.

I have printed this thing up, and I am going to show it to my boss.

Fire me, I don't think so... (manical little chuckle)

Stephen Hawking, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970781)

I just heard the sad news on talk radio -- Pseudoscience/SciFi writer Stephen Hawking was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, which was really written by his graduate students at Cambridge, there's no denying his contributions to pseudoscientific groundless speculation. Truly a British icon.

Good sell for open source (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970790)

receiving such a letter can cause both stress and monetary losses as the company attempts to chase down software-purchase information.

Which is a reason enough for most companies to switch vendors. Once this starts happening on a widespread basis, open source software will be a much easier sell to business.

Trust me, if the BSA contacted my company on behalf of a software vendor, that vendor would lose his account with my company. Though I do as much as I can to ensure license compliance, I will not do business with a company that has an adversarial attitude toward me. If a vendor believes that I am running unlicensed or underlicensed copies of software, it would be better for them to ask if they can perform an audit at their own expense rather than sending the BSA after me.

On a lighter note, it is the mere existence of the BSA which encourages me to use and recommend open source software as much as possible. I believe the BSA is hurting vendors more than helping them.

Re:Good sell for open source (3, Insightful)

vekotin (535759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970943)

I've got some first hand experience and comparisons from around here. Especially a few years back, Microsoft over here in Finland made it their policy to talk about licensing instead of letting BSA do the work. They'd ask people from your company to come over, they offer a meal, demonstrate some programs and do some usual advertisement tricks. Then they talk about licenses, licensing methods and they've usually done some background work on your company, helping to find a licensing solution. After a little talk, they'll get back to you and you'll usually find some good way to arrange licenses. "But I don't have all licenses in order now" you might tell them, and they'll respond kindly and suggest that maybe you should check them out now.

In comes BSA - everyone's doomed, everyone goes to hell and nobody passes go, but BSA certainly collects more than $200. You show them licenses, they'll claim you're hiding something. You show them invoices, they ask you are they forged. In the end, they're never saying it's okay, they're never wanting to solve things - they're just SO certain that every company is an evil pirate, or perhaps at least a place to turn into an incident.

I don't like a LOT of things about microsoft, including their customer service most of the time, their programs and their 72 million IIS bugs, but I won't lie to myself here - they want to make solutions, BSA wants to make war. BSA uses aggression, fear and often, VERY rude and offensive language. Of course they have nice people there too but it seems they're a minority. I -really- hope this is all just me seeing a number of bad days for them.

So, who do you want talk to about licenses today?

Regulation (1)

jaxon6 (104115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970799)

I've got a question? Who regulates the BSA's practices? What kind of rules does it have to abide by? I mean, even creditors have rules that say you can't be harassed and such. So, are there any that will keep the BSA in line? It really sounds to me like a bounty organization.

What a wonderful organization (5, Insightful)

rbeattie (43187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970803)

I don't think there's any other group in the world that can promote free software as well as the BSA can. I mean, the more BSA extortional "warning letters" that are sent or jack-booted thugs that come raiding into offices, the more that IT organizations are going to look for alternatives.

It's been argued on Slashdot before that more people would take free software seriously if they had to pay for all the stuff they use already. I agree. I say, good, make them pay up (plus penalties!), then they'll get a clue and stop using M$.

I don't think there should be anyone on Slashdot that's one bit against the BSA. Go BSA, go!


Re:What a wonderful organization (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970872)

Running OSS won't stop them. Running obviously non-intel hardware won't stop them. They don't care, and due to the wonderful aegis of the 'anonymous tipster,' they don't need a legitimate reason.

Re:What a wonderful organization (2)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970961)

" Running OSS won't stop them. Running obviously non-intel hardware won't stop them. They don't care, and due to the wonderful aegis of the 'anonymous tipster,' they don't need a legitimate reason."

Running OSS software is the ONLY solution.

The BSA's teeth is provided by the byzantine EULA's that you agree to by using most proprietary software. The EULA's usually force YOU to agree to BSA "audits" at YOUR expense.

You are agreeing to private police.

The only way you can legally tell the BSA to "fuck off" is to not play the proprietary software game.

Re:What a wonderful organization (2, Insightful)

Carter Butts (245607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970963)

Running OSS won't stop them. Running obviously non-intel hardware won't stop them. They don't care, and due to the wonderful aegis of the 'anonymous tipster,' they don't need a legitimate reason.

Yes, but they still need "weight of evidence" to make the accusation stick in court. I'd guess that simply not helping them, letting them run up costs in a battle they cannot win, and then filing a massive counter-suit for harrassment (with additional punative damages, of course) could be a very effective deterrent to future action. (Then again, IANAL, and perhaps this would be too expensive to be a reasonable strategy (even given the high probability of a payoff in the end).)

One almost envisions OSS firms acting like little tar pits...every one the BSA crosses could cost it vast sums of money, in addition to undermining its credibility. How many of these could the BSA afford to attack, I wonder?


Guilty until proven innocent? (5, Insightful)

sid_vicious (157798) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970806)

According to Blank and Kruger, the burden of proof is on the targeted company.

When did I stop living in America?

Re:Guilty until proven innocent? (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970887)

The moment you first clicked your approval of an EULA.

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970812)

use a real search engine []

Sounds like extortion to me (5, Insightful)

da_Den_man (466270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970813)

Most companies come back with a different settlement number, and we negotiate," says Jenny Blank, the BSA's director of enforcement. "I'm not going to say they're cheerful about it, but they recognize that this is probably easier and less expensive than taking the case to court."

This is just amazing that they can organize a settlement without even investigating the actual accounting of the licenses. If I have a license and no receipt, does that mean I stole the software? I would think just the opposite. It means I legally purchased the software and did not keep the receipt.

My question has to be, if they are judging the settlement on how long the software has been in use, who's to say it was loaded and EVER used? I have a ton of software that I NEVER use, but it is still loaded on the system. Mostly because I am waiting on an update, or patch, or Service Pack for it before I devote any type of time to running it.

BSA = Extortion, plain & simple.

I'm not sure who to feel sorry for? (1)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970819)

I mean....I ALWAYS like to see some greedy company get destroyed after they lay off a bunch of employees so they can make more money for the boss......that's just good clean fun....

But then....I ALSO have a significent ammount of contempt for the "axis of evil" that is the MS/Adobe/etc. cartel too.

And the BSA's making it's money off the fees is a little like the government making money off of current drug forfeiture laws...self perpetuating and expanding....

Thinking about this, they're all crooks....

What's a guy to do? Who should I root for?

Re:I'm not sure who to feel sorry for? (2)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970931)

France. They never win anything :)

A Look Inside the BSA? (1, Funny)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970828)

I just had to read at -1 to see if anyone would postulate that the man was a boyscout.

Computer Stew (2, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970840)

I just remember the Computer Stew episode when he tried to turn himseft in for a pirate copy of MS Office. - He tried the BSA, Police, Mayor, Attorey General, and Microsoft. At the end of the program they said something like "And what have we learned today? - If you pirate software, you might just go to jail - yeah, if you have the patience."

BSA and Scientology (4, Funny)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970878)

Ever notice how both "organizations" hide behind that term usually reserved for not-for-profit aid groups, or otherwise innoxious group?

Ever notice how both groups generally exist for the seemingly sole purpose of badgering people with an army of lawyers behind a veil of "good"?

Ever notice the striking similarity between L Ron and Bill Gates?

Coincidence? I think not.

The previous post was meant as humor, and in no way meant liabel towards the BSA, The Church of Scientology, the ghost of L Ron, or Bill Gates' stupid grin (tm). All of my software is legitimate Microsoft(tm) software!

I know! I'll report google (2)

Convergence (64135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970881)

I've heard that google takes a CD, that has something called 'linux' on it, and they install it on, like thousands of computers, without like paying any money..

So, whats my reward for this hot tip?

Why ISN'T the box enough? (3, Interesting)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970884)

If you want to find out if I own the software, fine. YOU find out. Am I really obligated to show you evidence that I purchased software?

I know a police raiding looking for stolen equipment runs checks on the serial numbers. If the serial numbers come back clean, I'm not obligated to prove to them that I legally purchased it. They have to prove that it was stolen property to begin with or they have no case. Granted, having a box of receipts for everything gets them out the door faster as well as making your life a whole lot easier in the case of a mistake.

But for the BSA, who by the way is not a law enforcement agency, to require evidence of ownership does not extend to being provided with purchasing records. The certificate of ownership should be sufficient. Of course, I could stockpile those in case I fear they're coming, but I could just as easily format the harddrives.

In fact, that might not be a bad idea. Force all data, and I mean ALL data to be stored on network servers running free software, and only use proprietary boxes as workstations. Ghost those machines and nuke them every night. Receiving a command from the network completely wipes all machines on the network (except the fileservers).

I don't condone piracy, but I also don't endorse nazi style tactics. There is NO reason that a company that acts in good faith in purchasing software licenses who makes an honest mistake should be raked over the coals because some errant employee installed an extra copy of office in the wrong place.


Protect Open Source licenses? If not, Die. (2)

Zeio (325157) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970885)

I hate the BSA, the only protect large companies intellectual property rights and don't fight for what Is right, they strong arm for the highest bidders, name, Microcrap. I hate the BSA, I have enforcers and chastisers and people who help to create monopolies. I don't know how these animals sleep at night. I'm a conservative, freedom loving capitalist, but the Monopoly and Oligopoly crap and all the B2B commerce associated with such is crap.

Imagine this, a pissed off jerk employee (who was probably fired because he stunk, and losers always whine the most), reports to the BSA false information, just to get back. Who pays for the time it takes to perform the audit if there were no infraction?

Also, the BSA sucks because the don't help enforce violators of GNU/GPL/LGPL/Free licenses from Open Source companies and intellectual property holders.

I think the BSA is a crock of shit. I think they make money off of terrorizing businesses. Why don't these fold go to China and do some real work on piracy, because when the numbers come in, American companies barely steal compared to the rest of the world.

Recently Adobe stopped localizing to the Chinese language. No BSA over there to stop real hard cope IP theft. No, they have to harass innocent businesses who are FORCED to buy licenses for Microsoft crap when the buy a computer from any major vendor.

Death to BSA. They like a roving band of out of control lawyers working for monopolies. I think it should be legal to shoot a BSA auditor dead if he trespasses on your business's property.

Re:Protect Open Source licenses? If not, Die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2970949)

The BSA helps member companies. It is not their responsibility to enforce silly kidsplay like the GPL.

One of these days, Alice... (3)

isaac (2852) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970886)

Ah, the BSA. I love these guys - their tactics help free (libre) software more than they may realize.

In my former life as a contract sysadmin I had several clients who specifically requested free software be used to build new systems or to replace licensed commmercial software with equivalent functionality. One major reason I got, especially in the latter case, was the desire to be rid of licensing hassles. The lower upfront cost helped, but this was usually less significant as they were already paying $$$ to contract me to implement whatever.

License compliance creates not just paperwork hassles but can shut down a business when, e.g. a license server fails/license key is accidentally deleted by clueless admin/clueless admin forgets to renew licenses/vendor goes under without a way to extend licenses or purchase additional keys. And this doesn't even cover security problems - did you hear the one about MS Office for Mac OS X? By spoofing product keys one can shut down every copy on the network, blocking use and causing unsaved work to be lost.

Now I'm a law student who salivates at the thought of the BSA getting its comeuppance - one of these days, I would not be surprised to learn that the BSA had organized a raid that shut down business at a company that turned out to be fully compliant. (Yes, I know full compliance with commercial licenses is virtually impossible in a large organization, but let me dream!) I can imagine hefty lawsuits arising... actually, this might have already happened. The BSA could have settled such a case with a settlement agreement that required confidentiality. I wonder, though, if one day a BSA raid will cause sufficient monetary damages (or a sufficiently cranky CEO) to make settlement impossible and allow a messy and public trial to go forward.

God, that would be sweet!

And yes, I have proof of valid license/purchase for every shred of commercial software on my machines. (Which is not much - just Win98SE, MS Office 2000, and Half-life/CS on my windows partition.)


Software Licensed Not Sold (2, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970916)

Last time I checked, everything you "buy" when it comes to software says "This software is licensed, not sold".

Doesn't this mean, if you have paid for at least one copy of the software, then it's not piracy, but instead a contract disagreement?

Displeased (1, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970922)

I'm very displeased with the BSA's tactics.. I've known several business owners who were threatened by them.. One completely freaked out. He asked me to come to his business and look everything over. Everything that was installed on his computers were OEM installs by the manufacturer (Dell, Compaq, and HP), and licensed Point Of Sale software.

Why did the BSA send him a threatening letter? Because he's a business owner.

This has been discussed on here before, where some private individuals have received the same letters at their homes.


I know companies with OEM installed everything. They don't have the "proof of purchase" for Windows, that came as an OEM install in 1998.. 5 years after the purchase don't even know where the stack of sales papers are for my car. I just keep track of my title and registration, just like Windows users usually have that stupid book with the hologram on it... My $35k car is worth a lot more than a Win98 install. The DMV will reprint my lost title for $15 . Why does the BSA think they are entitled to collect $150,000 for a missing "proof of purchase"!?

I hope the BSA comes after my home based business. I'll refuse them entry to my property. When the Federal Marshals come, I'll refuse them too. When they bust down my door and arrest me, they'll be very upset to find that I have a Win98 book w/ hologram, but it's not installed (I lost the CD years ago), and my machines have Linux on them.


Non-Disclosure? (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 12 years ago | (#2970965)

"People come to us with very detailed information that they gathered through their access to company systems."
Doesn't that violate some non-disclosure agreements? Talk about backstabbing!
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