Nail Your Boss

TitleNail Your Boss
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published03/1997
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsbusiness , BUSINESS ethics , COMPUTER science , Marketing Ethics
AbstractIn November of 1996 the Business Software Alliance, a trade organization, based in Washington, began to conduct an advertising campaign in Manhattan, which involved placing posters at well traveled points with the words "Report Software Piracy:" 1-888-NOPIRACY. This message, and phone number, are located at the bottom of the poster in red letters. Above them, printed in very big letters, is the sentence NAIL YOUR BOSS, with a picture alongside of the wide end of an expensive tie nailed to a wall. According to the Business Software Alliance, its hot-line activities, which preceded the NAIL YOUR BOSS advertising campaign, have led to recovering 18 million dollars in settlements from large corporations, small companies, and government agencies. The Business Software Alliance makes strenuous efforts to keep secret the identities of the people who report violations. So far no cases have gone to trial, but when the Business Software Alliance files a lawsuit it requests the court to put the informant's name under seal. Software piracy costs the industry an estimated 15 billion dollars a year. Is it morally justifiable for the Business Software Alliance to conduct its NAIL YOUR BOSS advertising campaign? If so, why? If not, why not?
NotesCase from the March 6, 1997 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1997.
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