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Wanted: Software Pirates. Reward: $1-Million

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The computer software industry is worth a couple hundred billion dollars in the American economy, but companies say they’re losing a big chunk of change every year due to program piracy.

Worldwide, stolen copies of Windows, Photoshop, and the like are a $50-billion problem, according to industry group Business Software Alliance.

“In the US, there’s a 20% piracy rate,” says Peter Beruk, the senior director of compliance marketing with the BSA. “One out of every five copies of business application software are being used illegally.”

Beruk says companies like Microsoft and Adobe want to take a bite out of such crime, so his firm is paying for tips that pan out.

“We want people to contact us when they are frustrated at trying to do the right thing because their managers, presidents or organizations just don’t want to use legal software. We’re sort of that last resort.”

The top reward for a piracy report is $1-million — money that comes from court settlements.  Beruk says they’ve paid informants hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past decade.

1-888-NO-PIRACY is the number to call and is the website to surf if your boss turns a blind eye.

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Stephenie Gentry

    Thanks for the interesting article.I went to school here years ago actually lots of years ago and its nice to read articles written by staff and students.It brings back old memories.

  • Zechs Merquise

    It’s a continuous vicious cycle.

    Software producers charge outlandish prices.
    People pirate rather than paying outlandish prices.
    Software producers charge higher prices to cope with piracy.
    People pirate rather than paying outlandish prices.
    Software companies charge even higher prices to cope with piracy.
    People pirate rather than paying outlandish prices.

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    I know plenty of college students who pirate programs because they won’t pay 400 bucks for a program. Yet they’re perfectly content paying 40 for a video game.

    If these companies would make their software easier to access, piracy would go down. It can’t get any simpler than that.

  • Guess Who

    ‘In the US, there’s a 20% piracy rate”

    Big deal. In China the rate is 99%. They’re not out friend.

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