I recently penned an article for Intellectual Property Magazine in which I offered practical tips for combating the rising tide of software piracy. Far from being a victimless crime, software piracy takes a significant toll on the software industry, costing developers worldwide over $60 billion a year in lost revenues.

But it’s not just revenue that’s at stake. Illegal software use also threatens to jeopardize developers’ competitive advantage, forcing them to go to market with less-advanced products at higher prices – bad news for end users. To prevent their code from being compromised, businesses are starting to take proactive measures as early as the software design stage. Their weapon of choice: software monetization. With this technology in place, they are able to package, price, and track the usage of their products, and protect their most valuable asset – their IP – from licensing infringements.

The case for software protection

Software vendors must walk a fine line between preventing unauthorized use of their software and creating unnecessary obstacles for paying customers. Thanks to newer, more sophisticated technology safeguarding the integrity of code, software copy protection no longer comes at the expense of the end user experience. Rather, it gives users the peace of mind that the software cannot be tampered with in any way that could harm their interests.

Given the massive investment of time and money that goes into developing and maintaining a software product, it’s understandable that developers would want to secure their products and make them profitable. For a negligible fee, developers can implement copy protection technology and avoid potential revenue loss caused by piracy. Moreover, this solution actually drives revenue in a positive direction, allowing developers to supply better software at competitive prices.

Common myths debunked

Some people are under the misconception that software protection isn’t necessary at all – that you just need to make software cheaper to discourage illegal copying. After all, no one copies inexpensive software, right? Wrong! The majority of counterfeit programs found on PCs today are of the cheaper variety, proving that copy protection is essential for all types of software, regardless of their commercial value.

You might argue that any software protection system can be cracked, rendering copy protection useless. While protecting an application doesn’t make it immune to tampering, reverse engineering, and license infringement, it’s the most effective deterrent against IP theft. In order to stay one step ahead of the hackers, software vendors must work closely with licensing and/or copy protection vendors to constantly update and improve their level of security.

A comprehensive solution

Software monetization does more than just enable vendors to control their software, enforce licenses, and manage entitlements – it provides unprecedented packaging capabilities in the form of innovative license models that help keep customers engaged. Companies that have the foresight to implement a software monetization strategy early on are able to minimize unforeseeable risks, optimize operations, and ensure substantial business growth.