Dear Lifehacker, At my workplace all the software is pirated. I find it frustrating that my boss (who it quite wealthy) insists on us using illegal software. I have tried bringing it up but he just laughs and it has become a big joke in the office. I am not sure what to do. Any advice? Thanks, Justice Thwarted
Picture by Frank Kovalchek: This kind of piracy is not illegal
Your boss sounds utterly charmless. If he doesn't want to pay for software, there are free alternatives in lots of categories. But if he chooses to use commercial software, he should be prepared to pay the costs.
Clearly he's not going to change his behaviour based on your experience so far, so that only leaves one realistic option in terms of solving the problem: reporting him. Understandably, you might be reluctant to do that, especially if you're concerned about being identified as the source of the report. But the only other alternatives are to ignore it and remain frustrated (a bad idea for your job satisfaction) or to hunt for another position. If that's an option, I'd look into it anyway; a boss who is cavalier about other people's livelihoods isn't going to be a great long-term employer anyway.
If you do decide you want to report him (whether you're staying in the job or not), you can do so through the Business Software Alliance, either via an online form or by phoning the organisation on 1800 021 143. All information is kept confidential; you won't be identified as the source of the report. If major piracy is detected, you could also be eligible for a large reward (up to $20,000 at the moment). That said, your motivation shouldn't be the reward; it should be making sure that your boss does the right thing.
Before all the commenters explode, I don't see that this has anything to do with the fact that Australian prices for software are frequently a rip-off. Yes, that's a rubbish situation and should be changed. But if a given software package is essential to a business, then the cost of that has to be factored into the business plan. It's as simple as that
If readers have been in a similar situation and want to share more advice or tactics, we'd love to hear it in the comments
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.