Two terms we often see confused in conversations with our clients are ‘software protection’ and ‘IP protection’. Both are critical components of any software development and monetization strategy, and have a significant impact on your software development ROI.
More than half of the companies out there that deliver B2B software have some sort of electronic license management embedded in their products. The lion’s share of this market belongs to home grown technologies, an unsurprising fact considering that the one thing software companies do is create software. The pros and cons of build versus buy have been well documented, and isn’t the topic of this article. What mystifies me is the glaring lack of metrics when it comes to this highly pervasive and extremely important issue.
In a recent study by the Business Software Alliance, the UK is the latest to throw a spotlight on the problem of software piracy. According to the study, 52% of small businesses in the UK have either bought or downloaded illegal software. In fact, the BSA now estimates that over half of all software in use by small and medium businesses in the UK is illegal.
That’s a shocking statistic – one driven according to the BSA by a combination of the current economic climate and a degree of ignorance towards how counterfeit goods propagate in the market. And we know from other studies, most notably the BSA’s 2011 Piracy report, that the situation in many other countries is significantly worse.
As pirates continue to attack, we are forced to spend cycle times of effort patching and plugging our code to defend against those that might steal it. With every cycle that passes, software pirates become more sophisticated, their vectors of attack harder to spot and defend against, with the skills required to do so ever more specialized and scarce. Are you prepared, or are you fixing your software piracy problems with duct tape?
In the first part of this post, I discussed the history of software piracy, its accelerated growth and some of the legislative efforts against it, such as the DMCA and PRO-IP acts. These may be two of the most prominent initiatives in the battle against software piracy, but there are other efforts worth mentioning – both legislative and commercial, with household names such as Google and PayPal being very active examples of the latter.
Electronic distribution of pirated software and other copyrighted materials didn’t start with the advent of the worldwide web during the 1990’s. A full decade earlier, people have been using dial-up modems to connect to private bulletin board systems (or BBS), which in many ways can be regarded not only as a precursor to the web, but also to the illegal and widespread electronic distribution of copyrighted materials.
Two decades of constant growth have made the internet a ubiquitous commodity, and its potential as a vehicle for piracy is now at an all time high.
Two recent events caused me to stop and consider whether piracy could be considered good for business.
The first example involves a children’s book. You may have heard of this particular book as it’s causing something of a stir. “Go the XXXX to Sleep” is written as a humorous book (a “Children’s book for Adults” per the author) that focuses on the difficulties some parents face when it comes to getting their children to sleep.
What’s remarkable is that it managed to grab the number 1 slot on Amazon’s bestseller list – a month before release. However, what makes it even more remarkable is
Each year, SD Times creates a list of the top 100 leaders and influencers in the software industry –The SD Times 100. For the third year in a row, SafeNet has made the list in the Software Security category, as well as, Quality Assurance.
BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) offer tremendous growth upside for many companies. Independent Software Vendors are no different. This fact leads to familiar conversations happening inside many software companies. “We need to enter the high growth markets. However, we have no licensing or our current licensing is not designed to focus upon piracy. We don’t want to invest all that effort only to end up giving our product away”.