Washington, D.C. - The Software & Information Industry Association today said that it has received 523 reports of alleged software piracy in 2006. Just about half of all accusations were filed by former, apparently disgruntled employees that used to work in the IT department of the company they report.
The organization described 2006 as a "good year" for its anti-piracy program, which was launched back in 1986. But despite more than two reports of piracy were filed per business day last year, the SIIA said that it is taking a very conservative approach in going after allegations and typically tries to convince companies to agree to a software audit and resolve any licensing issues if necessary. "These are the case you never hear about," a spokesperson told TG Daily. 106 cases, or about 20% of all reports received, were pursued more aggressively by the organization.
The demographic data provided by the SIIA reveals that most piracy reports are filed by people who feel that their former employer should not get away with installations pirated software. 58% of all reports come from IT staff or managers, with 6% each from senior management and sales staff. 86% of those sending in reports are no longer employed by the target company, meaning that 50% of all reports are filed by former IT employees of a company. While the SIIA was unable to say whether lay-offs were involved in these cases or not, the fact that the reporting people were not working for that company anymore, apparently played a major role in their decision to report piracy : 90% said they were aware of the piracy "first-hand" during the time they were employed.
14% of reports of reports coming from IT staff still work for the company they are reporting. In such cases, the SIIA says that it is protecting its sources and is not required to reveal its sources in a potential legal proceeding. Money of course, could be considered as an incentive for some people to report piracy : the SIIA’s "reward Program" promises to pay out up to $1 million per case ; the group confirmed that it paid out a total of $78,500 to seventeen sources in 2006. Other data published by the SIIA indicated that manufacturing and IT companies are most likely to be involved in using pirated software, with shares of 11% and 20%, respectively. Most cases pursued by SIIA represent medium-sized companies with an average staff of 2641 employees and average annual sales of $462 million.
The SIIA did not single out specific titles that were used without a proper license, but mentioned that titles in creative and productivity categories (word processing, office suites, report design, web design) had the largest number of pirated software titles. Among the more prominent cases during 2006 was the owner and operator of BuysUSA.com, who was sentenced to six years in prison on the conviction of illegally selling more than $4.1 million of copyrighted software ; in a similar case, the owner and operator of iBackups was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison as well as a restitution of $5,402,448 and a $250,000 punitive fee.