More legal news
18 November 2004 | David Arminas
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) in the UK has doubled to £20,000 the maximum reward it will pay people who report the use of illegal software.
Previously, the BSA, a global organisation of major software companies and hardware producers, has given 10 per cent of the value of any software recovered, with a ceiling of £10,000, to anyone who reports illegal usage in an organisation.
Until the end of the year, the ceiling will be £20,000 and then return to £10,000.
Siobhan Carroll, BSA regional manager for northern Europe, said the increase aims to raise awareness at a time when 29 per cent of all business and personal software in the UK is pirated.
Whistleblowers, whom the BSA said will remain anonymous, are typically former employees in the IT department.
"We have given out close to the £10,000 ceiling," she said.
The award is based on the cost of the software being used by the offending company as calculated by the BSA's lawyers.
The fine is payable to the BSA. If a company refuses to pay, then legal action can follow, leading to higher fines and bad publicity.
"But we urge companies to come to us if they suspect they have unwittingly purchased pirated software," she said.
The BSA provides free software auditing tools and advice to check software on Windows, Mac, Unix and Linux platforms.