A reward scheme devised by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to encourage the channel to reveal the identity of illegal software users has received a mixed reaction, as some claimed the initiative would force dealers to police their own customers.
The BSA has written to 10,000 resellers this week asking them to help combat software piracy among persistent offenders. The organisation is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information that leads to a settlement.
The BSA claims the move, which comes just weeks after dealers criticised it over the tone of its letters urging users to become software legal, will appeal to resellers as they have as much to lose from illegal software as BSA members.
But Brent Cutler, managing director of CCM Distribution, said the company would not be involved in the scheme. "What the BSA is asking us to do is shop our customers. If we know a customer is buying one copy of Windows and installing it on a number of machines, we'll point out that if it gets caught it will be in trouble, but it's not our business to go about policing our customers," he said.
Ian Brooks, managing director of reseller IB Business Development, added: "I'm not sure about the reward scheme as it looks like a case of poacher turned gamekeeper. But I'm surprised the BSA hasn't been more active about getting in touch with dealers because it's in everyone's interests to eliminate piracy."
Tracey Howe, anti-piracy manager at Autodesk and BSA UK committee member, denied dealers would be reluctant to get be involved in the scheme.
"It presents a route of escalation for dealers after they've tried all other ways of persuading users to become legal. Also dealers can contact us in complete confidence," she added.
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