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Pirated software? A $33,000 reward for reporting your boss.

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LONDON – Christmas bonuses are making a comeback in London's financial district.

But bosses better watch out.

In Britain, where popular anger over government bailouts of elite financial companies remains at fever pitch, ordinary London workers are being offered the chance to land a seasonal windfall of their own, and perhaps exact a Scrooge-style revenge.

The pitch? Inform on your bosses if they're using illegal software.

Research suggests there may be a lengthy queue of those willing to take the Business Software Alliance (BSA) up on its offer. The polling firm YouGov found that 40 percent of London workers who had been laid off were willing to turn their boss in for a monetary reward. As part of a crackdown on software piracy, the reward being offered to those who blow the whistle on infringements in the run-up before Dec. 31 has just been doubled to as much as $33,000.

The BSA, a trade organization active in 80 countries, is betting that cash-strapped employees at this time of the year may be more willing to report illegal practices, especially with Britain still mired in recession.

“We have seen a spike in leads in the London area,” says Julian Swann, the BSA’s director of compliance marketing.

“Of course, not everyone who gets in touch with us with a lead makes a request for a reward, it’s about half and half. But we have had hundreds of reports and we have paid out rewards.”

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