The Business Software Alliance is taking its aggressive and somewhat controversial campaign against pirated software to seven more metro areas this month.
Under its Grace Period campaign, the BSA uses letters and radio ads to offer businesses in selected cities the opportunity to avoid penalties and acquire licenses for any illegal software they may have installed. The January effort targets businesses in Montana; Houston; Indianapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Norfolk and Richmond, Va.; Orlando, Fla.; and the San Francisco Bay area.
The BSA, based in Washington, has come under criticism in the past by some businesses that have felt that the organizations letters were too aggressive and threatening. The alliance has collected more than $68 million in penalties from companies in the last 11 years and cites a 2000 study that estimated that software piracy cost the United States more than $5.6 billion in lost wages.
This program, the alliance says, is an alternative for companies that dont want to end up paying fines that run as much as $150,000 per copyright that is violated. It even offers a software tool to help audit company networks.
"The Grace Period offers businesses a chance to catch up, conduct a software audit and acquire the necessary licenses they need to get legal—penalty-free," said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement at the BSA, which is funded by software vendors.
This most recent effort runs until Jan. 31.