BSA busted

The BSA were, apparently, busted for using someone else's picture on their facebook adverts.

They seem to have changed the image now, but I am still not convinced that it is out of the woods here.

They are stating, in an advert, "report unlicensed business software and get paid".

This is not "you may get paid", it is "get paid", for just making a report.

Now, the web site, where you make the report does say, if you click on a FAQ item, that they will only pay up if they choose to pursue the victim of this report and get a financial settlement.

So, in my opinion, the advert is at least misleading. I think, based on reading a contract law book (armchair lawyer, that I am) that the advert could be construed as an open contractual offer in its own right. One that is broken if, after making such a report, I do not get paid!

I did try and make a report of a business using unlicensed business software but it only allows reports of specific vendor's software, not any unlicensed business software. So that is misleading for a start.

The software I was going to try and report is called "clueless", and Andrews & Arnold Ltd use it daily, with dozens of staff using it, with no license whatsoever.

[for those that do not get the joke, "clueless", like most of the software used by A&A is developed in-house, and as such needs no license. None the less, it is therefore "unlicensed business software", so meets the offer in the advert]

Maybe I need to report the advert to the ASA.

I do hope the owner of the stolen photo sends them a bill for its use.


  1. Moreover, it asks only that you make a report, not that it actually have any basis in fact.

    I could "report" that my local Big Issue seller has an unlicensed copy of AutoCAD. This is extremely unlikely, but I've still "reported unlicensed business software".

  2. The BSA is probably using an unlicensed copy of ... jQuery, for one: I'm sure they have a web browser, don't they? Or get really self-referential, and submit a report to them as HTML which contains a piece of unlicensed JavaScript ...

  3. Why do the British Stammering Association care about unlicensed software?

    1. That's the B...B...BSA (sorry, bad taste I know)

  4. jQuery is copyright software, but is freely available under the MIT licence, so it is not unlicensed software (unless you are using it in a manner not permitted by the licence). In house software being used by the copyright holder, on the other hand, does not require any licence at all.

  5. The term "unlicensed software" makes no sense anyway. A licence is a permission to do something which someone is otherwise restricted from doing. Certain restricted acts (such as the right to make copies) relating to that software can be licensed, but not the software itself.

  6. Well if the image was owned or controlled by Getty they'll certainly hammer the BSA for it - they're VERY aggressive.

  7. An advert is an invitation to treat not an offer: http://www.bitsoflaw.org/contract/formation/study-note/degree/offer-invitation-to-treat


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