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BSA offers piracy truce in five US cities

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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is launching a piracy truce for small and medium businesses in five American cities. The companies are to be encouraged to turn themselves in if they suspect they are harbouring unlicensed or counterfeit software.

They will not be prosecuted for any dodgy software in operation before February 1 if they buy the correct licences during the month, according to the BSA.

The scheme will run in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas and Denver, and will be the third software truce in the US by the BSA in six months. The BSA reckons it has so far received 2,100 call to its 'Truce hotline' and 34,000 hits on its Truce site.

And there'll be no escape from the BSA's tentacles - it warned today of an "extensive" radio advertising and direct mail campaign to alert SMEs in the targeted cities, and it aims to contact a million businesses itself.

"The Business Software Alliance is offering businesses and organisations a special opportunity to ensure that all of their software is fully licensed," said Bob Kruger, VP of enforcement at the BSA.

"In the long run, copying software can cost much more than being in compliance with licensing requirements."

The truce, part of a worldwide BSA brainwave, excludes companies who have already been informed of a BSA investigation.

Earlier this month officials at a South African college claimed the institution was wrongfully facing a $500k fine from the BSA. They said they had tipped the body off about the pirated stash in the first place. ®

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