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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is offering the pipe of peace to British businesses which may be using illegally installed software. The industry lobby group is offering a 30-day truce, kicking off on 6 March. At the same time it is offering a the BSA GASP auditing tool at bsatruce.com, as well as free Web-based advice. (This site did not appear to be live at time of writing.) Often criticised for heavy-handed tactics, BSA's 'carrot and stick' approach is to be welcomed. Companies can download the BSA software, self-audit and pay-up without fear of being crucified by punitive back-payments and fines. Or prison. The BSA truce should even bring in more revenue for its software publisher members than its more usual method of scaring the bejaysus out of corporates... once companies are brought into the clean licence fold, they tend to stay there. According to BSA, there is nothing new in the truce -- it is merely formalising a process that it has "always offered UK businesses". Mike Newton, BSA campaign manager said: "We understand that some of the illegal software in use is as a result of poor systems management, rather than deliberate theft." ®

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