Scott & Scott, LLP Questions Motives of Recently Rewarded SIIA Informants

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The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) recently announced that it paid $25,000 in rewards in April 2011 to three individuals for reporting software piracy who, according to the SIIA, were trying to do the right thing. Intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, is skeptical about the motives of the informants based on information published in Network World.

Scott & Scott, LLP

I question whether the informants are acting because they are 'conscientious' as the SIIA claims or because they are angy

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) recently announced that it paid $25,000 in rewards in April 2011 to three individuals for reporting software piracy who, according to the SIIA, were trying to do the right thing. Intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, is skeptical about the motives of the informants based on information published in Network World.

Last month was a high reward payout month for the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), a trade association for the software and digital content industries. According to a recent SIIA press release, they paid out $25,000 to 3 whistleblowers in April 2011. The SIIA paid only $57,700 to software piracy informants for all of 2010 according to a February 11th Network World article.

“With the SIIA’s reward program and statistics reflecting that most informants are disgruntled former employees, I question whether the informants are acting because they are ‘conscientious’ as the SIIA claims or because they are angry,” says Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner, of intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, whose firm has a dedicated practice area handling software audit defense.

Keith Kupferschmid, senior vice president of intellectual property at SIIA was quoted in a February 17th Network World article as saying:

“The reason people report to us is because they are disgruntled. They may have been fired. They may have not gotten the bonus or raise that they wanted. They end up getting angry and reporting to us.”

“In many instances the informants are the same people responsible for software compliance at the companies they are reporting. That fact, coupled with the promise not to disclose the informant’s identify leads our firm to believe that the SIIA is incentivizing non-compliance to disgruntled employees,” said Scott.

“While we understand the SIIA’s desire to protect the intellectual property rights of its software publisher members, we believe the SIIA and its members have done very little to simplify or standardize the unique, lengthy and complex license agreements of its member companies. This leaves the onus of compliance on end users – the very customers that the software publishers actively pursued to generate revenue,” said Scott.

About Scott & Scott, LLP (http://www.scottandscottllp.com/siiadefense/ ) is a boutique intellectual property and technology law firm with an emphasis on software disputes, technology transactions, brand protection, and federal litigation. Our lawyers and technology professionals take a principled approach to each engagement, leveraging our experience to provide value. Our clients range from mature small businesses to publicly traded multi-national corporations who work proactively with us to creatively solve business and legal issues. We regularly work as part of a team of in-house and outside attorneys managing large-scale legal projects. We take the time to listen to a client’s objectives and understand its business before developing a custom strategy and project plan designed to give the client visibility into the process and the potential outcomes.

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