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.

Filed Under: compliance, licensing, software


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  1. identicon
    Xan, 1 Feb 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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