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Unfair Competition Law an Opportunity for India, Snitch Line Leads to $106k Payment - Week in Review 4/1/2013

April 1, 2013

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Welcome back to V.i. Labs’ weekly update on software piracy and copyright infringement. In this edition: Unfair Competition Law may create an opportunity for India and “snitch lines” get a bad rap.

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Unfair Competition Law Creates Opportunity for India?

InformationWeek featured an interesting article on Unfair Competition Law creating an opportunity for India: “The first enforcement action by a U.S. lawmaker against an Indian company that is alleged of using pirated software, the Pratibha Syntex lawsuit puts forward a clear call for compliance” (a case covered in a recent webinar by V.i. Labs and PricewaterhouseCoopers).

The cases under Unfair Competition Law “are a logical and welcomed step toward the call made by U.S. officials to curb unfair competition and ensure a level global playing field for suppliers and manufacturers” and the American Chambers of Commerce released a statement on the implications of the law on Indian exports.

“Today, the global economic situation is forcing governments around the world to look at enforcing laws that provide a fair ground for competition. The US law against ‘unfair competition’ is another step in this global trend. US being a key export market for India, it is critical that exporters review the software used in their supply chains to ensure license compliance and abide by the law. For the countless manufacturers in the country risking loss of trade is simply not an option,” said Ajay Singha, Executive Director, American Chambers of Commerce.” “This law should be viewed with optimism as they render India an opportunity to compete better in the world market by being a compliant nation while ensuring the overall growth and wellbeing of the domestic economy,” he further added.

Given the focus on Unfair Competition Law as an alternative license compliance strategy for software vendors, it is good to see the impact that these cases are having on the thinking around software piracy.

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“Snitch Line” Leads to $106k Payment

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The BSA announced that a report to its whistleblower website in Canada resulted in a $106k payment by an Ontario company “over allegations of unauthorized copying of copyrighted software.”

Announcements like this from the BSA are fairly common, but the headline on ITBusiness.ca jumped out at me. It is interesting that an IT trade publication characterized www.nopiracy.ca as a “snitch line.” The vast majority of IT professionals and the companies that employ them want to know if they are out of compliance with their software license agreements.

Despite this, they tend to take a negative view of so-called “snitch lines” and whistleblower campaigns - and this makes sense. Offering a financial incentive to report your employer for software piracy can result in questionable motives and valuable resources spent chasing down bogus leads.

What do you think? How effective are these efforts? Sound off in the comments.

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Questions, comments? Is there a story or topic you’d like to see covered in depth? Please leave a comment below or visit us at our Software Piracy Initiatives Forum and discuss the topics with experts in the field.

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.