The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an anti-piracy organisation that represents tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, McAfee, Cisco and Autodesk to protect their copyrights, will offer up to AU$20,000 in cash during the month of July for information that leads to catching businesses using unlicensed or pirated software.
This is four times the usual AU$5000 reward that the alliance usually offers. BSA Australia co-chair Clayton Noble told ZDNet Australia that the group had seen a spike in leads when it offered a bigger reward in 2010.
"Partly because of the extra allure of the higher reward for people who come through with cases, but partly because [the reward offer] boosted awareness for people out there about who the Business Software Alliance is," he said.
He said that once the BSA receives a lead, it contacts the whistleblower, and, if the case sounds credible and involves BSA member products and a substantial number of copies, evidence will be gathered and sent to the business involved, giving them an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
"If in fact we do have software piracy in the business ... we'll attempt to resolve the copyright infringement," he said.
He said that many of the informants tend to be IT managers or former IT managers dobbing in their employers.
"We get former CIOs and former IT managers of businesses that have left the business and are sick and tired of the business not being willing to pay for the software they're using," he said. "They think they can cut corners by buying one licence and deploying it across all PCs in the business, for example."
Nobles said that the BSA has taken up cases against small businesses and big corporates. He said that the BSA in Australia has yet to bring a case of software piracy against a government agency.
The New South Wales Government has found itself embroiled in its own software copyright-infringement case, with Micro Focus seeking over $10 million in damages from the New South Wales Police Force for allegedly purchasing only 6500 licences for ViewNow software while providing the software to more than 16,000 users.