MACMULL'S MUSINGS

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Canadian Software Scare


On a recent trip back to Canada, I heard an advertisement on the radio for CAAST. It strikes me as a kind of Crimestoppers for software piracy. Apparently, "CAAST/BSA is currently offering Rewards on a limited time basis to encourage people with information about software piracy in the workplace to come forward and to ensure that those reports are as complete and accurate as possible." Quick, turn in your family members who've circulated a single licensed version of Windows XP.


Most interestingly, in a Section labeled "What will happen to the organization I report?" CAAST apparently has the power to obtain funds from prior infringers, namely, "settle its past liability by making a payment to CAAST based upon its past use of unlicensed software." This is somewhat interesting language in my view because CAAST can't compel such payments, as they are not a government organization. In fact, they go on to mention that they've brought actions against the government in the past for non-compliance. So how do they work? Well, I suspect that they force a settlement or threaten suit, though this too seems problematic to me for both them and the infringers.

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