The Business Software Alliance focuses on the 90% that can't afford an attorney

Steal from the poor to give to the rich, that seems to be the BSA's mantra.

As Network World and The Associated Press report, the Business Software Alliance gets most of its money by targeting small businesses who can ill-afford to defend themselves, rather than go after the bigger companies that likely have more piracy in-house.

Why not sue the big companies? Well, because they can defend themselves, for one. But secondly, because these potential pirates are also the software industry's biggest customers. It's Robin Hood done in the reverse: take from the poor and leave the rich alone.

An analysis by The Associated Press reveals that targeting small businesses is a lucrative strategy for the Business Software Alliance, the main global copyright-enforcement watchdog for such companies as Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp.

Of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90 percent came from small businesses, the AP found.

A thief is a thief, big or small. But as the article reveals, there's some doubt as to whether the theft is deliberate or simply unintentional. There's also the problem that the whistle blowers seem to tend to be the people responsible for IT, which makes them guilty of both ratting on their employers and of putting them in the compromised position in the first place.

I'm all for stamping out piracy. But not when it seems to be a deliberate attempt to overlook the biggest offenders to go after those least able to defend themselves. The BSA claims it targets small companies because they're most likely to pilfer software, but I don't believe this. Big companies aren't any more protective of IP than small companies are.

The BSA is no Boy Scouts of America, whatever its acronym might imply.


Via Slashdot.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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