BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its 'Snitch' On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign

from the hypocrites dept

For many years, we've written about the Business Software Alliance's (BSA) ridiculous snitch program. This is where the organization (which represents a bunch of software companies, but more or less takes its orders from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Autodesk) promises to give people large cash rewards for snitching on friends and colleagues who happen to be using unlicensed software. The BSA insists that this is one of their best tools -- which they then use to raid small companies for questionable "audits" that often completely destroy those businesses. The BSA forces those companies to pay huge sums of money -- all of which the BSA keeps. As for the claims of big rewards for snitches, the BSA is incredibly misleading on that front. A few years back, they started promising "up to $1 million" for snitching. In exchange, we promised "up to $1 million" if anyone could show the BSA actually paying out $1 million. Someone looking into the BSA's payments found that the highest they'd paid out to snitches at the time was around $5,000 with many getting less than that. In other words, the BSA has never had much of a reputation for intellectual honesty.

The good folks over at TorrentFreak have now also found that the BSA also appears to be a bunch of hypocrites as well. Having launched a new "snitch" campaign on St. Patrick's day, it appears that the organization failed to license the photo of the "pot of gold" it used on Facebook. Yes, that's right, on the very campaign where the BSA is asking people to snitch on unlicensed software, it appears to have used an unlicensed photo. The image appears to have come from CakeCentral.
When Torrentfreak reached out to the BSA about the licensing of the photo, suddenly the image disappeared from the BSA's Facebook page replaced by an image of an obviously fake pile of money. That seems fitting, given that their promises of giving people lots of money is equally bogus. Either way, the BSA is lucky that photographers don't have an equivalent organization that busts down doors and suddenly demands huge payouts. I'm sure it was just an oversight by the BSA and that some intern or someone failed to get the license. But, the BSA itself never forgives such minor "oversights" by the small businesses it destroys with its snitch campaign.
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Filed Under: copyright, hyprocrites, licensing, photographs, snitch
Companies: bsa


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  1. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 24 Mar 2014 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Hilarious

    "because to do so would be an attempt to impart to it some sort of culpability for the action of the person who should assume the blame"

    But they do have culpability for it. Regardless, I am just pointing out that this is a point of hypocrisy for them. If the positions were reversed, the BSA would not be nearly as forgiving and lenient as you are suggesting we should be.

    "This would be consistent with the position regularly espoused here decrying secondary liability."

    Not even close. This isn't a secondary liability issue. This is a primary liability issue. Just to define things -- secondary liability is when users of your service commit some act that you had nothing to do with. Primary liability is when you yourself, or some contractor/employee/etc that you have responsibility for, do it. This is a case of the BSA itself (or some entity they have responsibility for) doing it.

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