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.

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Comments on “One-Sided Surveys Concerning Software Licensing”

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Hallie says:

“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.

Xan says:

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.

Anonymous of Course says:

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.

Sorry no Name says:

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

Pablo says:

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.

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