BSA urges London companies to check for pirate software
Protect against pirates, me hearties
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has written to more than 1,000 companies in London, asking them to complete a software audit as part of a two-month campaign against software piracy.
London is responsible for more reports of software piracy than any other place in the UK, with one in five pieces of software in the capital being used illegally, according to the trade body. The BSA has run similar campaigns in Glasgow and Manchester.
The BSA said that it is already investigating several companies in the London area for using unlicensed software. “As a result, these businesses face the prospect of legal proceedings and the BSA is urging other businesses to avoid being subject to the same fate,” it said in a statement. “In the current economic climate, London’s businesses cannot afford to waste money on legal actions, subsequent financial settlements and the unplanned purchase of legitimate software.”
“The current downturn in the economy does not negate the need for businesses to keep the software they are using up-to-date and legal,” said BSA spokesperson Alyna Cope. “We want to promote the value of software and educate businesses in the capital on how it should be better managed, helping to save them money at a time when it is most needed and reducing the risk of facing legal action further down the line.”
“We urge London businesses to come forward and ensure that their software licensing is up to scratch, checking all software – from office productivity suites, to design packages and fonts,” said Cope.
See: The BSA site
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The PC software companies and the Licence enforcement bodies such as the BSA need to get receptive and connect with reality as to what’s happening on the street! As you will agree the world is constantly changing, and the 70’s software sales business model is archaic and confusing. It was born in an era where the software delivery was via floppy discs or tape. It has no place in today’s consumer led market that is educated and serviced by the internet.
The most successful companies really understand their customers perceived worth of their product offering and tailor the price according to their customer’s ability to pay and the various competitive factors. Today consumer products and services can be acquired in the size relating to your needs and affordability. Yet software licences are still sold as a whole product irrespective of how heavy a user you are or how often you use it.
Imagine if you were able or lease it on a monthly or even daily basis or pay for the hours you actually use it. This is not vapour ware as tool hire companies and DVD rentals do just that. Sure you will make less profit in the beginning, but the volume will grow at a pace to easily cover the revenue lost. It could also be very profitable business if its bill as per use.
For too long the software industry has buried its head in the sand and hoped piracy will go away. Like the movie and music industry have found out, piracy changes the way they have had to deliver their product. The web has altered the dynamics. They could not battle with the free download of songs; hence the iTunes and other download stores were born and surprisingly found eager custom from users who did not want illegal content on their MP3 player. They also offered consumers the choice to purchase a single song from an album at a nominal cost. This was very different from you could only buy a single if it was released on hard copy. Again it was about serving the customer and not just your shareholders and internal agenda.
Piracy will not disappear but grow as demand increases and more people get used to free applications. It will also get more sophisticated and the pirates will out market the legitimate channel with their offerings. They have yet to offer bundles and OEM choices. IDC please take note.
Software companies have invested millions in promoting SAM (Software Asset Management) and the biggest benefactors have been the Consultants implementing this questionable benefit. You still don’t see numbers from the BSA stating this many thousand PC’s are now dormant due to layoffs, and the value of redundant licences is X million UK £. What happened to all of Lehman Brothers licenses? Once the economy picks up then hopefully those moth balled licences can be put back into use. But I have my doubts.
Software Companies be honest and examine the vast profits you make to compensate some stock holders and top management. The margins in that industry beat anything else that comes to mind.
Use some of that to design a new model of delivery so people pay what they use and they can buy in smaller more affordable chunks. Say thank you and reward your regular users. Remember you have a lot of loyal customers who continue to pay you significant subscription dues and upgrade costs.
Look at mobile phones. Pay as you Go has opened the market to a huge customer segment. Africa and parts of Asia saw an explosion of phone use once you could buy air time at numerous kiosks for as little as 50p top up. In the beginning only the well heeled could afford a mobile phone, just as in UK whole segments of population did not consider them affordable or a necessity. It was only when the air time packages came down in price and coupled with affordable basic phones, did the consumer embrace and leverage the benefits of the extensive network mobile phone companies had built. Had this revolution in retailing not happened the penetration in some markets would be 5% at most, compared to the current 60-80% due to pay as you go? Imagine if the only way you could have a mobile phone was by contract?
That’s just what the software industry is largely doing right now and it can’t see the bigger opportunity of using a new more customer centric delivery model. It will take a brave software brand to change this, and Google has already begun. Look at Picasa and ask why bother buying a licence for a photo image manager?
Perhaps the BSA should stop making us feel guilty and make less noise about the millions $ lost to piracy and look at what was left on the table because the sales proposition did not excite the consumer.
"So then logically if you have pirated your software the BSA has no legal right to audit you as you've never signed/agreed to the crazy 'EULAs' that come with commercial SW."
You know that little radio button or 'accept' button you press when those 'annoying words' appear and the installer stops? That's the bit when you agree to the EULA. So no, the BSA can audit you. Except they can't because they are not a statutory authority. Still, if you've got nothing to hide, right?
Dealing with the B(ull)S(hitters)A(nonymous)
In the US, communications between client and attorney are privileged communications.
I have been told, that if you get one of those letters, you should consult an attorney ASAP. It is my understanding that you should have your attorney perform the audit, so that the details are considered privileged, and not subject to discovery by the BSA in the event they decide to sue you.
AFAIAC, they (BSA) can go straight to hell!!
I saw a trailer on one of the Sky channels the other day for a programme called 'Ross Kemp on Pirates'. Are the BSA employing the bald headed nutter now?
Up to date?
So the BSA wants everybody "to keep the software they are using up-to-date and legal".
I do understand the legal issue, but what is their point about keeping it up-to-date? I love my ancient pieces of software, they run and run and run ...