After years of “ho-hum” traditional press releases, research studies, and local radio campaigns, it looks like the BSA has hired fresh blood to breathe some life into its image. Using YouTube, the BSA is engaging in some rather clever viral marketing in what appears to be an attempt to not only promote but also to modernize its message. The “Faces of Internet Piracy” campaign evidently launched over a year ago, with videos featuring real-life “bad guys” (software counterfeiters and consumer cheats) and “good guys” (corporate do-gooders who beat back the tide of piracy and spread the virtues of properly licensed software). Some of the YouTube shorts (like this one) reflect an edgy, reality-TV-inspired production style, which the BSA likely hopes is more apt to reach one of its primary targets: tech-savvy youth.
I do find it interesting that despite the fact that many of the BSA’s efforts are devoted to auditing and meting out punishment to businesses guilty of using unlicensed software, it doesn’t seem like the BSA is allocating proportional resources to educating the business community using similar, culturally relevant mediums. Of the $51 billion of lost ISV and retailer revenues the BSA claims piracy has resulted in, how much of it stems from illegal software use within companies? It’s always struck me as a bit odd that the annual studies that yield these figures have never made the important distinction between consumer piracy and corporate piracy. Then again, from the BSA’s perspective, it probably doesn’t hurt for end-users to draw their own conclusions, no matter which category they fall into.
Hopefully one of these days we’ll see some equally inventive campaigns targeting business end-users; given the surprising number of companies that continue to gamble (and lose) with license compliance, as well as the fact that our “entrepreneurs of tomorrow” are well-versed in acquiring software via less-than-desirable channels, it would seem there’s no shortage of end-users that could benefit from getting the message.