back to article Software pirates should offer up more booty, says BSA

Software companies should be entitled to bigger damages for the use of copied software, industry lobby group the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has said. Damages law needs to be changed so that companies are entitled to damages greater than the current rate of the equivalent to the cost of the software which has been copied …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Oh I get it!

    So for several reasons, using open source, actually buying the software, using cheap software alternatives, etc, this lot are not catching anywhere near as many companies as before, flouting the laws and thus not so much money is coming in. So the first thing to demand? Ask for more money from those stupid enough to be caught ripping of a few copies of office!

    Nice one! So we're trying to get the country back on it's feet, get businesses driving the economy again and this bunch would rather watch a company go under, losing the economy money, than cut them some slack, give them time to pay a reasonable fine and get their software licenses in order.

    Shut up and stop complaining!

    1. Marvin the Martian

      It's the glass-half-full-or-half-empty debate.

      The subtitle could have alternatively read "Punishments are high enough, but software prices are too high".

      Given that the BSA is a MS front, this version seems quite right to me: rather than double the punishment, just halve the prices and keep the punishments at the same level.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        A Microsoft front? Really?

        "Given that the BSA is a MS front..."

        BSA members include Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Autodesk, Quest, Symantec, McAfee... writing them off as a Microsoft front just lets the other equally culpable companies off the hook.

  2. Tom 35 Silver badge

    governments should lobby retailers to sell low-cost software...

    How about the BSA members produce some low-cost software that is worth buying, how is this the "govenments" job?

  3. P Saunders
    Paris Hilton

    The usual thumbsuck amount

    Paris, 'cause she can too.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    I would happily agree... support their losses in the face of free alternatives, if, in return they accept liability and pay compensation for software failure...

  5. Jeff 11


    "The report said governments should lobby retailers to sell low-cost software to turn illegal software users into customers."

    Ridiculous. How about you lobby your members to come to a more suitable agreement with their retailers, like in, umm, every other business-supplier relationship out there.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Please

    how do they come up with these figures?

    Its got to be purely conjecture as if they were able to put an accurate figure on this then they would have discovered all the pirated software in use in the country and as they dont appear to have done that this is from the 'department of made up numbers'

    Can we get some information on how this report was made up....I mean researched

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tell you what....

    I'd like to see a law that stated that, say, five years after a vendor has stopped selling a title (eg. a game) the product passes out of copyright enforcement and can be freely copied.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Should go for non-game software as well

      I've got all manner of Fastback files that I can't turn back into useful stuff to store in the clear in CD or DVD, and AFAICT, there exists no alternative.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not trying to be a freetard...

    but if Andrew Crossley can get away with only payimng £1K, surely that should be the case for the people camping on the other side of the fence, namely the pirates.

    I mean, if a pirate gets a letter swearing that they are bust, surely they should get away with only paying a grand, yes? Or is the law quite not applicable to everyone the same way?

    Now, don't get me wrong, I don't condone piracy, and pirates should pay. But if you are going to let go one way, you have to let it go both ways. Or in other words, rip pirates, fine, but rip Andrew Crossley apart as well or there's no justice.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    audit costs

    If the law is going to be changed, companies audited for software compliance should be able to recover the labour costs of the audit from the BSA at standard consulting rates.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An observation...

    Commercial software piracy harms FOSS as well as COTS: If someone takes a copy of a piece of COTS software without paying, they don't use a FOSS alternative this is bad for FOSS as well, becuase projects which should get attention (and therefore, usually, funding) dont see any interest.

    FOSS and COTS fans should both criticise software piracy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      During a support call out was asked if I had a copy MS Office that could be put on 3 computers.

      I replied 'Not with me' but I could, and quoted the price for MS Office.

      When told that they weren't looking to Buy, I gave the OpenOffice pitch, mentioned I had a copy with me and could cover the installation under the current call out.

      I was informed that they would just borrow disc like last time.

      What really made this call memorable from the usual go-around on this topic was the client is law practice - as is the outfit lending the copy of MS Office.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Report them

        Title says it all really.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How many of those that work in BSA have MS Office on their home PC?

    How many of those that work in BSA have MS Office on their home PC which are legal copies?

    1. Oninoshiko

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Actually, most commercial licenses of MSO include a provision for the worker to use it at home or on a laptop, as well as one desktop. I think that provision is ONLY in volume licenses and even then there are multiple tiers, not all may have it.

      But that is not necessarily piracy.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        MS Office

        At the office we are changing to Office 2010. The new licenses do not cover use at home like the old ones did.

        I have a home license for Office 2003. It covers use on 3 PCs (even simultaneously). I have it on the desktop, an 18" luggable and netbook. I looked at changing to 2010; With 2010 I can only install it on 1 (Can you imagine buying a CD and being told you can only play it in 1 player!).

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Overpriced software

    The problem is that the big established players sell software at stupidly inflated prices.

    Is Adobe Creative Suite really worth £500? what family is going to spend that amount of money?

    Microsoft Home Office is about £100 when I can get iPad office apps for about £5 each that do much of what most people need.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Worth it

      £500 seems fair good value for a professional package that can earn it's cost back 100 times over. It isn't aimed at families.

      Perhaps I should go and try and buy a grand prix car for the price of a family hatchback?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So, if it's not worth it (Office, or Creative Suite) people won't buy them, they'll use the FOSS of cheaper alternatives. To copy the software and say that you did that becuase you want it, but you don't think it's worth it, isn't really a defensible position.

      If no-one buys the software becuase it's too expensive, the producing companies will realise that they're charging too much and reduce the price, or another player will step in.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The U.S. has the right idea

    They are proposing making piracy a felony with mandatory prison time. This won't stop piracy but it will get a lot of criminals off the streets for a long time and that's a good thing. It will also create new jobs building and maintaining new prisons, so it's all good. Increasing the fines to 10,000 Euros per copy would also be useful.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Oh, so NOW I get it...

      Those in the US waging the War on the Middle Class (the "They" in you post) want to insure that the combatants on the losing side (whether they are willing combatants or not) end up as prisoners of war.

      Good plan...NOT!

    2. M Gale

      743 people per 100,000 in prison as of year end 2009

      And you're proposing locking MORE people up? Over software laws that are already ridiculous in their scope? And losing the right to vote because they had a hooky copy of Big Babes with Big Busts vol 2? Wow.. that'll really work. By work, I mean "introduce people without a criminal thought in their heads to some really nasty types who'll likely ensure that the USA's recidivism rate stays WAY up"?

      I always thought Australia was the one that started as a penal colony? Land of the Free my pink rosy arse cheeks.

      1. Goat Jam

        Re: Locking more people up

        I think you guys need to get your sarcasm detectors adjusted, they are clearly out of spec.

        "A sarcasm detector, that's a real useful invention" Comic Book Guy

        1. M Gale

          Sarcasm detector?


          Scary thing is a fair amount of people do think like that though, and it seems a significant proportion of those tend to post on webby forums. Sometimes the ol' cat's whisker needs a bit of a tweak, y'know?

    3. Rattus Rattus

      re "will get a lot of criminals off the streets for a long time"

      No it won't, they'll still be in their offices lobbying for higher fines.

  14. Graham Marsden

    "Industry lobby group" says...

    "Software companies should be entitled to bigger damages for the use of copied software."

    Well *there's* a surprise now, boys and girls...!

    (Where's that Pope/ Bear icon El Reg?!)

  15. ben_myers

    No incentives to resellers to reduce piracy

    I'll focus on Micro$oft products here, because I have no choice except to sell them. The Micro$oft Office-and-Windows hegemony dominates the world of office software suites. No matter which version of Office or Windows we are talking about, the wholesale price I pay to a distributor is within pennies of the street price in the big box retailer stores. So where is my incentive to push Microsoft products, when my margin for the effort is maybe 5%, maybe a little more if my client is so inept that he needs to pay me to install the software.

    Really now, if there is no incentive for me to sell the damned products to begin with, and I do so only to provide complete hardware-software systems to my clients, why should I even think about being a pawn in Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts? As Mike Myers or Austin Powers said, "Throw me a bone", Microsoft. Give me the possibility to make even 20% on a software sale, then offer a deep-discount anti-piracy incentive.

    And the same goes for Adobe, Autodesk and all the rest. They bitch and complain about piracy, but make no attempt whatsoever to give incentives to those of us on the front lines... Ben Myers

  16. Goat Jam

    "Software companies should be entitled to bigger damages for the use of copied software"

    I fully agree.

    Make the punishment severe. It is the only way of getting the message across.

    Too hard to keep track of who is using what in your business?

    Tough. Buy some software to manage your software licensing you filthy pirate.

    Too hard to know if an employee has slipped a not paid for app on to one of your PC's?

    Tough. Go buy some network auditing software you cheapskate.

    Or if all of that is just too hard then you could, I dunno, just not use proprietary software at all?

    No need to worry about the jackboot of the BSA kicking your face in then, is there?

    Great one BSA, love your work guys.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019