Ferreting out software piracy

Thursday, 8 May 2003, 1:08 AM EST

The software industry has deployed the latest high-tech weapon in its fight against the billion-dollar scourge of software piracy -- a cartoon ferret. Decked in baggy jeans and a tight T-shirt, the grinning mustelid is the mascot of Playitcybersafe.com, a new Web site aimed at stopping kids before they make their first forays into software theft.

The Web site is the centerpiece of a campaign by the Business Software Alliance to teach kids as young as 8 years old "safe and responsible" computing practices, like avoiding the rampant software piracy that member companies like Microsoft and Adobe blame for eroding their profits.

"It's never too early to start teaching kids about good behavior, the right thing to do is to reach out to them while they're very young," said BSA spokeswoman Diane Smiroldo, noting that some children get their first taste of Web surfing in preschool.

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