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
    Sorry no Name, 4 Feb 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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