The Hunt for Software Pirates

Steve Hamm

A couple of days ago, I got a message on my home computer purporting to be from Microsoft telling me it wanted permission to download some software onto my machine to verify if I was using a legal copy of Windows. Like a good Boy Scout (former senior patrol leader!), I clicked “yes.” I have no idea if I was communicating with Microsoft or some rogue intent on causing damage to my computer. But I got the message that the crackdown on pirating of software is revving into high gear, and sometimes it’s a bit intrusive and irritating. Clue No. 2: I interviewed Stephen Schneider, CEO of Med-Legal, a document scanning service in California, who claims he’s being hounded unfairly by the Business Software Alliance—which has accused him of using a ton of illegal software. I’m normally a fan of the BSA, and there’s no way I can afford the time and effort to investigate this situation to find out who is right, but Schneider’s complaints seem to be worth airing. Does anybody else out there think the BSA has become too heavy handed?

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