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Pirated software is a problem in many countries and for many businesses. By making illegal copies of software, an individual or business undercuts the software developer or seller and causes a loss of profit. If you find illegally copied software, it is ethical to report it, which might seem like a hassle, but it takes only a few minutes, and you might reap a monetary reward for reporting it. You usually can report pirated software by contacting the person or company that owns the rights to the software or by contacting an organization that is dedicated to stopping software piracy, such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA®). Unless required by law, your identity will not be disclosed as the person reporting the illegal software.
Most software distributor websites have a special page for reporting pirated software. This is because every company recognizes that its software could be stolen because of the relative ease of pirating programs. You typically will just have to tell the company what business, person or website is distributing the illegal software. Your name and contact information typically will not be required when you report the pirated software.
If the software distributor’s website does not have a special page for reporting piracy, the next option is to use the regular contact page. Every website should have the email of the website administrator, and you can contact him or her to report the fraud. Just tell them the identity of the person or the location of the business, either physically or online, and what makes you believe that the software is illegal. Just like reporting through the page dedicated to piracy, you should not be required to leave your own name and contact information.
The Business Software Alliance is dedicated to making and protecting software. It is responsible for making laws against cyber crimes, and its website has a page where users can anonymously report pirated software. No contact information is needed, just some information about who is selling or distributing the illegal software. You can supply your email address, but this will be used only to update you about the investigation status, if an investigation is conducted.
The BSA® offers a financial reward for reporting pirated software if certain conditions are met. The software theft must have occurred in the United States or Canada, although software theft in other countries might be investigated as well, and the person or company must be sued for using the illegal software. If the law in that jurisdiction prohibits rewards, then you will not receive compensation. Even if you don't receive compensation, reporting pirated software will help the software distributor recover lost profit, which will enable the company to allocate more funds to making better programs.