The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a 24-member organisation including Adobe, Apple, Corel, Microsoft and Symantec, will start advertising the rewards of 20,000 Australian dollars this week in Sydney's CBD, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Informants are usually disgruntled employees, former or current contractors, often people who have tried to get management to do the right thing," Clayton Noble, co-chair of the BSA in Australia, said.
Earlier, BSA offered rewards between 500 to 5000 Australian dollars for credible leads, but the steep increase in reward amount was an experiment to see if more pirates were caught, Noble, who is also a lawyer at Microsoft, said.
BSA requires proof that companies are using more than one pirated brand of software before it begins legal proceedings on behalf of its members, while single cases of piracy are referred to the software maker in question.
Those found to have copied, used or distributed software without due payment are given an opportunity to settle the matter with the BSA and to purchase licenses from the software vendor. Failure to do so may send the case to the courts, at the risk of much greater penalties, Noble said.
The alliance, which settled 12 piracy cases in Australia last year worth more than AU$330,000 from a record 95 leads, up from 44 in 2008, keeps settlement fees to fund further cases and rewards.
Australia has one of the lowest software piracy rates in the world, with 25 per cent of all deployed software in 2009 being unlicensed, one per cent less than the previous year, said IDC, a research firm. (ANI)