BSA Supporting Free & Open Source Software



Recently I’ve been getting, what I initially and mistakenly assumed to be, spam in my inbox from the Business Software Alliance. An organisation that doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking about Freedom and choice in software.

This spam marketing literature however, is actually a very compelling call to action for those businesses that aren’t already protecting themselves by using Free and Open Source Software. If the image isn’t terribly legible, here are a few of the juicy bits just SCREAMING at you to think very carefully about the software choices you make in your business.

Your boss wouldn’t ask you to steal or commit fraud, would they? So why do they ask you to use unlicensed software?

Note the phrasing: “unlicensed software”. Of course Free software is licensed, so that’s OK then. There are lots of great Free Software licenses.

Here’s the bit where the BSA really start to suggest you should be using Free Software.

Here’s how easy it is to get caught up using illegal software:

  • One or more software licenses are bought, but the software is installed on more PCs than the licenses permit
  • Software is purchased for an employee’s home PC and is also installed on to a work PC

These activities are perfectly OK and in-fact encouraged with licensed Free software. A Free Software License gives a user the freedom to do these things; It’s called freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.

  • Font designs and software are downloaded illegally from the internet

You can download legally lots of font designs from places such as the Open Font Library and Google’s WebFont Library online.

The recently released Ubuntu font is an excellent example of a high quality, freely available font.. You can read about it here, get it from here and even get the font source from here. You may also choose to use the Google Font API to use it freely on your website from here.

And as for downloading “software” well, there’s probably more Free software available for download than the BSA could shake a stick at.

So please, consider carefully what our friends at the BSA have to say and talk your bosses or employees about the choices they make. Using properly licensed software is not hard. You don’t have to be at risk from even making a simple mistake. Using licensed Free software protects you.

If you are in a business and want advice on the choices available there are companies such as our own that can help. The BSA would rather your employees take you to the cleaners…

So, if you know of a company that is using unlicensed software, please let us know now. You could receive a reward of up to £10,000.

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