Swedes offered 500,000 kronor to turn in software pirates

The Local Sweden
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Swedes offered 500,000 kronor to turn in software pirates

Informing the authorities about the use of illegal computer programs has just become very profitable in Sweden: passing on information about an organisation which uses pirated software could earn an informant up to half a million kronor.


"You can always have a discussion about whether informing is good or bad, but compare this to tipping-off customs officials on a drug smuggling operation or the police about a crime," Business Software Alliance (BSA) chairman John Hugosson said.

BSA, an organisation dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world, has for years worked to prevent the pirating of computer software.

The organisation runs campaigns to get private individuals, companies and organisations to use only legal computer programs.

Every year, BSA receives over one hundred tips about pirated product use.

Of these, more than ten percent lead to awards of damages and the purchasing of new licences.

The BSA policy of offering rewards for informing has existed before, but the maximum reward amount has now been raised to 500,000 kronor.

"That is a lot of money, but the pirating market is dealing with a lot of money too," said Hugosson.

"We predict the total number of pirating tip-offs will increase significantly when the award is raised," he added.

In addition, BSA foresees that the attention surrounding the hefty reward, which stipulates that an informer is allowed ten percent of damage awards up to 500,000 kronor, will increase awareness among users and spark interest in the subject.

"Use of pirated programs is still quite high in Sweden, and we want to help those who are sitting on information but who do not have anyone to turn to," Hugosson said.

Recently, a man was ordered by a Swedish court to pay 165,000 kronor in damages to BSA for having sold pirated computer programmes.

According to the information technology researcher IDC, the Swedish IT sector could grow immensely if pirating decreased by ten percent in the next three years.

Growth expectations could be revised upwards from 22 percent to 29 percent, and 21,000 more jobs would be created.

In a controversial study, IDC found that 26 percent of all computer programs used in Sweden are illegal copies of original programs.

Decreasing the use of pirated computer programs would greatly help the Swedish IT industry - and might give your own personal finances a lift in the process.

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Jody Sherwood/TT


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