The BSA's new weapon against unlicensed software: disgruntled employees

Opinion

The BSA's new weapon against unlicensed software: disgruntled employees

Interesting to see that settlements paid by UK firms caught using unlicensed software doubled to £2m last year according to figures from the Business Software Alliance (BSA). 

As it's pretty clear 2010 was not, in general, twice as vulnerable to criminal acts than its predecessor (2009), there has to be another reason for the surge in settlements.

If the amount of crime is unlikely to have vastly increased, the only other answer has to be more of it is being detected or solved. According to the BSA, one of the factors behind greater detection has been the impact of whistleblowing from employees at companies using unlicensed software.

"Informant reports come through frequently and businesses need to be aware that it is easy for employees to blow the whistle on unlicensed software use," says EMEA compliance marketing head Julian Swan, describing it as "an ideal excuse for frustrated employees to secure some payback on management that thinks it can get more with less".

Might there be some correlation between businesses cutting corners on their software licences and companies annoying employees by cutting costs on everything else, including some of their perks or even their wages? There could be a lesson there. 

Mind you, it begs the question of whether some of those firms might still be getting away with using unlicensed software if they had only kept their employees sweet.


This was first published in March 2011

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