Sofware Watchdog SIIA Pays $22K for Antipiracy Efforts in March

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-04-02 Print this article Print

Focused on smaller vendors than the Business Software Alliance, the Software and Information Industry Association goes after companies who don't comply with licensing terms based on information from anonymous 'whistle blowers.'  

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) announced that it paid more than $22,000 in rewards last month to seven informants who helped it take action against organizations with pirated software and noncompliant licenses.

The 800-member association has been cracking down on piracy for nearly 20 years. Like the Business Software Alliance, or BSA, SIIA takes action on behalf of member companies and depends on its informant reward program to draw in individuals willing to drop the dime on former employers and other companies using improperly licensed software.

Unlike the BSA, SIIA’s membership roster is missing one behemoth in the software industry: Microsoft. The association tends to focus on smaller vendors, along with a few heavyweights that are also BSA members such as Symantec and Adobe, says Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA's senior vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement.

“We do represent a lot of the same software companies, but we also represent a lot of smaller companies,” Kupferschmid said.

Another distinction between the two groups is that the SIIA puts considerable resources into battling the illicit sale of pirated software on online auction sites. Its Don’t Get Mad, Get Even program offers consumers duped by online scammers cash for authorized software in exchange for information about the pirating auctioneer. The SIIA is also unique in that it also represents content companies such as McGraw-Hill, Dow Jones & Company and Associated Press.

“When companies are distributing content such as an Associated Press article or something from Business Week without a license, we pursue those types of cases as well,” Kupferschmid said.

Though not as widely visible as the BSA, the SIIA has still drawn the ire of some companies targeted by its antipiracy machine that claim it uses the same strong-arm tactics as its fellow industry association.

“I don't know how somebody defines strong-arm tactics. Some people might think that we use strong arm tactics, but ultimately we have a job to do, which is to stop piracy or under-licensing,” Kupferschmid said. “So if a company is going to work with us and engage and conduct the audits and work with us to solve the case short of litigation, then we are going to have no problems. But in the instances where we've had to litigate over time—and I think that is one of the big distinctions between us and the BSA, is that we've brought quite a few cases where we have had to sue organizations for not working with us—the organization pays a lot more than when we’re forced to sue them.”

*For more information about how to avoid action from an organization like the SIIA, check out the following Baseline stories:

12 Companies Nabbed by the BSA

8 Ways to Avoid a BSA Audit

What to Do When You Receive a BSA Audit Letter


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