BSA: The Software Alliance

What Does BSA: The Software Alliance Mean?

BSA (The Software Alliance), styled as “BSA | The Software Alliance,” is a trade group founded by Microsoft that attempts to eliminate software piracy of the software made by its members. Many major software makers are part of the BSA, including Adobe, Apple, Autodesk and Oracle, among others. The group runs campaigns promoting the legal use of copyrighted software and encouraging employees to blow the whistle on businesses using pirated software.


BSA was originally known as the Business Software Alliance.

Techopedia Explains BSA: The Software Alliance

The Business Software Alliance was founded by Microsoft in 1998 and includes many major hardware and software makers, including Microsoft itself. Microsoft includes clauses in its EULAs that require customers to submit to audits of its licenses. Since 2012, it has been known as BSA | The Software Alliance.

The BSA runs consumer-facing campaigns discouraging the use of pirated software. The “Play It Cyber Safe” campaign uses a ferret as a mascot to encourage students to only use legitimate copies of software.

Another campaign that has garnered a lot of notoriety for the BSA was “Bust Your Boss!” The campaign offered disgruntled employees rewards of up to $200,000 for reporting use of pirated software. This was seen as disproportionately affecting small businesses.

The BSA also sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…