Software piracy snitch line leads to $106k payment by Ontario company

Beware – the software copyright police are watching.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry led and funded organization dedicated to raising awareness of software piracy issues – and forcing compliance – has settled with Scarborough, Ont.-based Promobiz Solutions for $106,791 over allegations of unauthorized copying of copyrighted software.

According to the BSA, it was alerted to the unlicensed software use through a confidential report made via the snitch function on its web site,  As part of the settlement, Promobiz agreed to delete from its computers all unlicensed software, acquire any licenses necessary to become fully compliant, and take measures to ensure its future compliance.

“Under-licensing is a significant contributor to the overall software piracy market in Canada and affects all industry sectors,” said Jacqueline Famulak, Chair of the BSA Canada Committee, in a statement. “Software piracy hampers technology companies’ ability to innovate and create much-needed jobs and government revenues during these challenging economic times.”

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According to the BSA, most of its software investigations begin with a tip, usually from current or former employees. BSA contacts the company to explore the matter further by asking them to perform an audit of its software assets and, if a settlement cannot be reached, the matter may go to the courts.

What’s your take?

Is a confidential snitch line to inform of unlicensed software use a necessary step to protect copyrighted intellectual property, or an unwarranted and distasteful intrusion? Let us know in the comments.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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