One-Sided Surveys Concerning Software Licensing

from the something-appears-to-be-missing-here... dept

Someone who prefers to remain anonymous, submitted to us an unintentionally amusing editorial concerning the issue of unlicensed software. The editorial is written by someone at a consulting firm, trying to drive more business in helping software companies force their customers into complying with license terms -- so it's in the writer's best interest to make it sound like going after unauthorized users is good business. You'll notice as you read through the report that all of the data seems to only come from one side: the software companies themselves. It should come as no surprise that those software companies complain about significant "losses" due to unauthorized use -- as it's rare for most software firms to admit that they often benefit from the network effects of unauthorized use. It's even rarer for most software firms to admit that some unauthorized use comes from those who would never pay for the software in the first place.

From there, the report gets even worse, claiming that software license compliance efforts (basically, showing up at your customers and making sure they're not using more than they paid for) "cause few, if any, negative ramifications" and generally say the "impact of software license compliance activity was neutral, positive, or very positive." Once again, this is incredibly one-sided. It only talks to the software firms themselves -- who are either unlikely to admit or simply unaware of how their customers feel about such compliance efforts. If the consulting firm were really interested in understanding the impact of these compliance efforts (rather than just selling more compliance services), it would have also investigated how those on the receiving end felt about such efforts -- and the longer term impacts of treating your customers as if they were thieves. But, that might not tell such a rosy story, and might not be good for business.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Hallie, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    "If the consulting firm were really interested in understanding the impact of these compliance efforts (rather than just selling more compliance services), it would have also investigated how those on the receiving end felt about such efforts..."

    Yup, someone needs to point them to any of the myriad Ernie Ball interviews on the subject.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    Why don't the these companies (hello RIAA and MPAA) try to claim these "losses" to the IRS at tax time and see how far it gets them.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Xan, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    They will regret it...

    when all the businesses move to open source. Now, I am not some pro-open source Microsoft hater, I actually like Microsoft quite a bit. I use Vista and Office both at work and home and like both products. But if you were a small-business (or any business really) why would you risk fines in the thousands of dollars if you accidently have Office on one extra machine when you can use Google for free? One day when everyone is driven to open source these companies are going to wake up and say WTF? - then it will be too late.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    Living in a dream land

    These are guys selling their over priced copy
    and license management software while living
    in a dream land.

    Everything can be broken. Your LMS is broken
    before you make the last payment on it.

    Developers should concentrated more on the
    customer experience, rather than waste money
    on an things that bring no benefit for the
    customer. The money they save could be used to
    make their products more attrative.

    Add additional content available from corporate web
    sites, hard copy manuals for a nominal fee, technical
    support, moderated forums and all that jazz that tips
    the scales towards purchasing ve pirating... assuming
    the product isn't grossly over priced to start with.

    The remaining small percentage of people that will
    pirate the product shouldn't be counted as lost
    sales. They aren't ever going to buy your product.

    At best you get some exposure to customers your
    marketing would have missed. At worst people that
    would never purchase your products are using them
    for free.

    Pissing everyone else off to stop those few leaches
    is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    I'm pretty sure that...

    when faced with a choice between two licensing models, one where the owner phones you up every few weeks and comes by to "review" that you're using the product in a way he deems fit, and another where that doesn't happen; people would choose the latter.

    Anyway, isn't that what auditors are for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 5:46am

    This firm is not the only one who will benefit from this.

    Free software vendors will also benefit from this..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Sorry no Name, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 2:46am

    We completed a license review last year...

    …with Adobe

    They want to see all invoices stretching back 10 years (yes all - copies of the actual invoices only thanks), they refuse to believe that staff have tended to buy their own copies within their departments and change their minds on an almost daily basis what they will and won't accept as proof. If you have offices in China don't expect to be allowed to submit invoices in Chinese for instance (it's apparently just tough luck for you if you were dumb enough to trade in the local language)

    They even claim that servers containing the install files for distribution only (i.e. NOT installed on the servers) need their own licenses

    I could go on but the myriad difficulties we have experienced in dealing with them and the outright profiteering we see, has taught us one thing - don't buy Adobe. I would imagine the same is true of virtually any company pursuing licenses this aggressively

    Don't get me wrong - Adobe and their ilk have a right to expect their clientelle to be fully licensed, but the sheer obstructiveness we have experienced (apparently having the box, CD and manual for an install isn't proof of license for instance) just turns us off - I work for a large multinational client and the amount of effort we have had to spend defending ourselves from their attacks makes it very expensive, we think it’s going to be far easier just to avoid them altogether

    Adobe only seem happy if you have signed a select agreement with them, paying licenses for way more installations than you are ever likely to use - so many of our meetings have felt like blackmail sessions it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth

    Anyway rant over but that’s real life on the receiving end of these black mailers

    PS - anybody know of a good alternative to Acrobat Writer? its about the only Adobe product we are having problems replacing

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    dazcon5, Feb 11th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    show up?

    If these maggots show up at my place of work, they won't even be admitted to the building. Want to perform an audit of our licensing? Provide your reasonable requirements and we will comply, otherwise PACK SAND!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Business Management and More, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 9:05pm

    Business Management and More

    The site has all business downloads which include: start-up kits, accounting packages, inventory, record keeping, agreements, forms, business management, business plans, human resources, marketing, payroll, resumes, self employment. ">Business Management and More

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Pablo, May 2nd, 2008 @ 1:09pm

    Re: We completed a license review last year...

    Try PDFwriter. It works great.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Pablo, May 2nd, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    Kind licensing?

    We sell a software package for $500. It is quite tempting to copy it to other systems as typical customers are small businesses. What is the easiest way to prevent casual copy and distribution to other unlicensed users? Users won't always be on a network.

    We're trying to get money in to further develop the product, but that is not possible if it is pirated a lot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    koyali, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    Cash Surveys

    hi this is koyali and most of the they want to know the details about jobs now a days this is common to every one so i will provide some information here please visit.
    ============
    koyali
    Cash Surveys

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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