S'pore BSA prefers educational approach

Threatening letters and anonymous tip-offs are fine, but the Singapore arm of the anti-piracy Business Software Alliance (BSA) will not encourage employees to turn in their companies.

SINGAPORE--Threatening letters and anonymous tip-offs are fine, but the local arm of the anti-piracy Business Software Alliance (BSA) will not encourage employees to turn in their companies.

While BSA has launched a radio campaign in four US cities, telling dissatisfied employees to get back at their employers by finking on any software infringements, a Singapore BSA spokesman told The Straits Times that it preferred to adopt the educational approach to discouraging piracy among corporations.

It may not follow its US counterparts, one of whom was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I would say to businesses that unless you have no current or former unhappy employees, you are only one phone call away from becoming a target of a BSA investigation." However, all is not sweetness and light in the local fight against piracy.

Last year, 1,500 local businesses got a scare upon receiving an audit form, which warned companies that they risked "breaking the law" if they failed to return the completed form by a certain deadline.

At that time, Singapore BSA explained that "the BSA’s goal is to educate and assist the public, in this case the SMEs, on intellectual property rights protection issues." However, its letter included: "Your company could be next," and: "Act now. Don't wait for the BSA to come after you."

Of course, filling up any chinks in its education policy is the fact that BSA offers a S$20,000 (US$10,978) reward for anyone who calls its hotline here with information on software pirates.

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