The Business Software Alliance — a proprietary software industry group — has pulled a controversial ad that promised cash to people who snitched on friends and employers who used pirated software, after they were credibly accused of pirating the image used in the campaign.
The ad used a photo of a pot of gold, captioned with “Your pot of gold is right here baby. Report unlicensed software and GET PAID.” The photo used in the ad was of a cake baked by Cakecentral user Bethasd (the cake itself is pretty amazing! “St. Patrick’s Day Pot O’ Gold – Chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey’s Irish Buttercream”).
The BSA has refused to comment on its use of the photo, or to confirm that it was licensed prior to use, but they immediately pulled the ad after being asked about it. Meanwhile, Torrentfreak “encourage[s] ‘bethasd’ to get in contact with the software industry group, and demand both licensing fees and damages for the unauthorized use of her photo. Surely, the BSA will be happy to hand over a pot of gold to her.”
Representing major software companies, the BSA is using Facebook ads which encourage people to report businesses that use unlicensed software. If one of these reports results in a successful court case, the pirate snitch can look forward to a cash reward.
Below is one of the promoted Facebook posts that appeared in the timeline of thousands of people on Saint Patrick’s Day. It features a homemade cake in the shape of a pot of gold and sends a clear message to the readers.
“Your pot of gold is right here baby. Report unlicensed software and GET PAID,” the post reads.