In an effort to fight against software piracy, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said Monday it has temporarily raised the reward for anonymous reports of illegal software use in the workplace from $200,000 to $1 million.

The reward increase is valid through October 2007 and is part of the BSA’s rewards program founded in late 2005, which aims to encourage individuals to “blow the whistle” and bring forward detailed information on software license infringement. The controversial program has helped BSA settle with hundreds of companies since 2005 bringing in nearly $22 million.

"Reporting software piracy is the right thing to do and BSA is pleased to reward individuals who come forward with credible information," alliance enforcement director Jenny Blank said in a statement. "Businesses often have a million excuses for having unlicensed software on office computers, BSA is now offering up to a million dollars for employees who turn them in." she added.
According to a study from IDC, the retail value of software pirated in the U.S. during 2006 was $7.3 billion. Businesses caught with unlicensed software can pay up to $150,000 per violation. However, not everyone will be eligible for the $1 million jackpot. The potential reward one can qualify for is determined by the size of the settlement paid by the company pirating software; meaning in order to qualify for the $1 million a settlement of more than $15 million is needed, according to the BSA’s reward guidelines.