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SIIA Announces First Cash Award to Software Piracy Whistleblower

Ex-Employee Felt 'Something Needed to Be Done' About Blatant Software Fraud

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) today announced it has awarded its first cash reward under a new program that recognizes people who provide information that helps uncover software piracy.

Chris Mikesell, of Beebe, Ark., was awarded $2,000 for providing information that allowed SIIA to bring a successful piracy case against Mr. Mikesell's former employer. Under its new Rewards Program, SIIA intends to make similar cash awards to people who help it fight software piracy and under-licensing within companies and organizations. Piracy of business software costs U.S. companies more than $12 billion a year, according to estimates.

"We hear from many employees at all kinds of companies who are frustrated because of their employers' lax attitude toward software compliance. Many of these employees want to lawfully license software, but often encounter resistance from management," said Ken Wasch, SIIA President. "We want to help -- and reward, when appropriate -- those who take action to fight piracy."

Mr. Mikesell's case reflects how some companies all too easily disregard basic licensing issues. His former company, a staffing firm, had always been conscientious about licensing software. Shortly after he left, however, he discovered that a new chief information officer ushered in a new licensing policy -- and attitude. He further learned that many software licenses, for a large number of seats, weren't renewed and were not going to be, even though employees were still instructed to use the software.

"That's when I got interested," Mr. Mikesell said. "This wasn't right ... They (former company) were actually trying to steal software from others. They were so egregious in their violations. And there was no doubt about it. It was clear that something needed to be done."

Mr. Mikesell submitted a detailed report to SIIA's Anti-Piracy Division. His information led to a thorough SIIA investigation that confirmed multiple instances of unlicensed software use. SIIA subsequently settled charges with the company for an undisclosed sum.

"The goal of our Rewards Program is to reward people like Mr. Mikesell and others who take a stand against piracy," said Keith Kupferschmid, Vice President of SIIA's Anti-Piracy Division. "We look forward to making more cash awards."

Under SIIA's Rewards Program, which began in February 2003, SIIA offers rewards of up to $50,000 to individuals who report verifiable corporate end- user piracy to SIIA through SIIA's hotline (800) 388-7478 or through SIIA's Corporate End-User Piracy Report Form.

This program is designed to encourage companies and IT professionals to be software-compliant. It also hopes to provide an incentive for those who report piracy to SIIA to provide detailed, accurate and reliable information about the extent and type of piracy occurring within an organization. There are several eligibility requirements that must be met by a source before someone can be considered for a reward.

Cases of corporate, retail and Internet piracy or noncompliance with software licenses can be reported on the Internet at or by calling the Anti-Piracy Hotline: (800) 388-7478.

SIIA has multiple programs dedicated to combating and reducing software piracy, including its Certified Software Manager (CSM) seminars, which address the specific needs of software managers, technical support specialists, purchasing agents and value added resellers who must ensure their organizations are software compliant. It also makes a variety of helpful information available at

About SIIA

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to more than 600 leading software and information companies. For further information, visit

First published January 28, 2004

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