Roughly 40 percent of software installed on computers around the world is not properly licensed, according to the most recent Business Software Alliance (BSA) survey. This is an alarming figure considering cyber attacks are more prevalent than ever and pirated software is an easy entry point for hackers to do their dirty work.
What’s worse, for the companies developing legitimate software, the cost of the pirated software, which often contains viruses and malware, is incredibly high in terms of its damage to the company’s reputation and its revenues.
Don’t let the pirates win - here are five tips on protecting your software from piracy:
Maximize Your U.S. Contacts
Host your software, or some aspect of your software, in the U.S. Also, host your online manuals in the U.S. and install copy protection and/or control numbers on DVD software. That way, if you ultimately need to pursue legal action against a foreign corporation, you may have an opportunity to do so using U.S. jurisdiction.
Beef-Up Your Software License Agreement
Include Evidence Gathering Technology in Your Software
Embed technology in your software that enables you to collect forensic evidence and cross correlate and supplement the collected data with website registration information, website account logins, trial version requests, download records of manuals and support documents, support requests, and training program attendance records.
Advanced tamper detection technology can tell you that your software has been used illegally and can provide details of exactly who used it, where, how many times, for how long, and more. This is information that can be leveraged in negotiations to bring offenders under compliance or, in a worst-case scenario, for a legal proceeding.
Make Sure Your Policing Efforts Are Timely and You Are Serious
Statutes of limitations may prevent you from recovering for unauthorized use if a few years have passed since the incident occurred, especially if you knew of the incident and did not act. Crying wolf can also cost you credibility and money. Repeated “nice” letters and/or threats with no follow-up generally don’t work. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Prioritize Your Efforts
Not all pirates are equal: your resources and competing interests may make some pirates more attractive to pursue than others. Avoid educational organizations and focus on companies that are gaining an unfair competitive advantage against your paying customers. Look at reputations: is the company’s management reputable and likely unaware of the piracy? Look for lower risk/higher reward. Is the pirate a frequent user with clear benefits to legalizing licenses?
It’s time to take a stand against piracy to protect your valued paying customers and your company’s reputation and future success. By arming your software with actionable information and following through on your accusations against infringers, you’ll set a reputation that your software is not to be pirated and you’ll help make an impact on the global piracy epidemic.