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SA college fuming over $500k anti-piracy sting

Claims it tipped BSA off

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A South African college faces a $500,000 fine after the Business Software alliance (BSA) pounced on counterfeit software.

The BSA described the piracy as "blatant" and "extensive", according to South African news site ITWeb, claiming the illegal stash included software from Microsoft, Lotus and Adobe.

But officials at Boston City Campus were fuming over the threats today. ITWeb reports that the campus say they were the ones that tipped the BSA off over the software in the first place.

"We approached the BSA more than a year ago, because we were concerned about the proliferation of software among our students," Boston director Ari Katz told the South African news site. "We asked for advice on how to curb this."

Katz said consultants visited the college yesterday - after the BSA filed its claim - and gave the organisation a clean bill of health. "We have an open door policy," he added. "The BSA is welcome to come and inspect our premises."

But the BSA was having none of it. "The owner of the [computers] is responsible for the software installed on them. We haven't been on the premises, and they might now have licensed software, but that doesn't change the previous non-compliance," said BSA chairman Mark Reynolds, who reckons the alleged piracy was reported via the BSA's own hotline 18 months ago.

The college forms part of a group that flogs Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Software Developer courses.

The latest action brings BSA claims to more than $1 million so far this year. Yesterday an American man admitted to being the ringleader in a $2 million Microsoft Office counterfeiting ring - he faces a maximum of seven years in jail when sentenced on January 31. ®

Related Link

The ITWeb story

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