SIIA pursues cases of software and content piracy taking place within an organization. This occurs when software has been installed or content is being copied and/or distributed by an organization without the proper license from the publisher. Those who report piracy taking place within an organization to SIIA may be eligible for a reward of up to $1 million.
The Corporate Anti-Piracy program is driven by source reports. A person we refer to as "the Source" notifies SIIA that a particular organization is using illegal software or content (such as newspaper articles, magazine articles, newsletters, newswire services and financial reports). Sources can contact SIIA about an organization's non-compliance in three ways:
Usually the Source is a current or former employee, member company, vendor, or other person with first-hand knowledge about the improper use of software or content. To ensure that we get reliable information, we do not reveal the identities of those who submit the reports and we offer rewards of up to $1 million.
After we are contacted by the Source, we follow up and ask him or her detailed questions about the reported organization (e.g. how many computers/employees at the organization? What software/content is in installed on the computers? How much of it is unlicensed? Is management aware of the piracy? What is/was the Source's job title at the organization, etc.). SIIA reviews the report and the answers to the follow-up questions, as well as using other investigative techniques to corroborate information obtained from the Source(s), to determine whether to pursue a particular case.
SIIA pursues only those cases where there is reliable and extensive information that the reported organization has illegal copies of software or content. Therefore, organizations that are contacted by SIIA should know we have reliable and credible evidence of their illegal activities.
SIIA notifies the participating publishers whose products were identified by the Source and seeks their authority to pursue the case on their behalf. Once the authorization is received, SIIA forwards the case to our outside counsel. Counsel then contacts the president of the reported organization via letter and phone to request that the organization conduct a cooperative investigation (such as a software audit) of all of its workstations, laptops and servers to determine the extent that software or content was copied and/or distributed illegally.
After the organization conducts an investigation, it provides SIIA with the results documenting the quantity and titles of the software and/or content it has in its possession. The organization also provides SIIA with license documentation that establishes whether it has sufficient licenses for the software or content. From here, there can be one of three outcomes:
- If unlicensed software or content is found, the organization must (among other things) delete the infringing software and content; license sufficient copies of the software and content, pay a significant fine, and adopt and implement organization-wide software and content compliance policies. In return, SIIA releases the organization from any liability it would otherwise have had under the copyright law.
- In the rare instance where no unauthorized software or content is found, the case is closed.
- If the company refuses to conduct the requested investigation, SIIA may sue the company for copyright infringement on behalf of the publishers whose work is being infringed. SIIA considers litigation as the alternative of last resort. Nevertheless, if an organization refuses to cooperate, SIIA will - as it has done in the past - sue that organization for copyright infringement of its members' software or content.
Examples of Software Piracy Taking Place Within An Organization
- An organization purchases a single licensed copy of a software program and installs it onto several computers, in violation of the terms of the license agreement.
- An employee installs business software on their home computers in violation of the terms of the license agreement.
- A copy of a software program is copied onto an organization's servers and the organization's network "clients" are allowed to freely access the software in violation of the terms of the license agreement.
- An organization buys computers with preloaded software, but the vendor fails to provide the organization with purchase documentation to verify the legitimacy of the pre-loaded software.
Examples of Content Infringement By an Organization
- Circulating copies of news, magazine, or newsletter articles without permission by e-mail or hard copy (even if only internally within your company)
- Posting news, magazine, or newsletter articles on a website wihtout permission (even if they are also posted on the copyright owner's web site), rather than posting the relevant hyperlink
- Posting chapters from a textbook or novel on a website without permission
- Internet auctions for scanned textbooks on CD. Watch out for books that have been scanned into an electronic format and then burned onto a CD. Check to make sure that you are receiving the entire original book and that you are also receiving any and all complementary materials such as CDs or charts in their original form.
- Illegally posted news stories on a website. Links to articles hosted on the copyright owner's site are perfectly legal.
- Distribution of Test Prep Materials. Most test prep courses do not allow the transfer of their material from person to person. These materials include text books, sample tests, lectures, lecture notes, computer based reviews, etc.