Software Piracy Isn’t Always a Choice

Scrolling through Facebook today, I happened upon one of those sponsored links. The advertisement immediately caught my attention for a few reasons. First, I too believe that software developers, like everyone in this industry should be appropriately compensated. Furthermore, customers should pay for what they use in accordance with what they agree to via license agreements. I did find it interesting that the ad went on to encourage employees to turn in their employers and be financially awarded for sharing their knowledge of software indiscretions.

What really struck me was how one-sided the thought process was. Much of the software industry has broken license models. For example, talking to two representatives from a software giant will likely result in two opinions of how the licensing process works. The agreements are often found contradictory. In some cases the licenses don’t even align with modern deployment scenarios. Rebuilding a computer, which I seem to do regularly, forces a call to get software reissued.

And this is when things work right. What about when something happens and it doesn’t work correctly? Consider this, you are a customer and can prove the purchase of a product. The vendor even agrees that your organization owns the right to the product. However, the record keeps getting screwed up in their database and it causes you considerable grief. What if you own a perpetual license agreement and the vendor goes out of business? All is well until you have to activate it again.

Honestly licensing should not be as painful as it is. I strongly discourage piracy, but I think vendors must do their part. This requires them to work hard and give customers simplified license agreements that just work.


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About Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security)

Paul is a Network and Security Engineer, Trainer and Blogger who enjoys understanding how things really work. With over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, Paul has helped many organizations build, maintain and secure their networks and systems.
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3 Responses to Software Piracy Isn’t Always a Choice

  1. Bibelo says:

    Usually it’s the liegit customer who’s punished.
    For example when I put a real DVD that I bought into a real DVD player, I’m forced to watch a warning about piracy for like 20-30 seconds. But when I download a divx on the internet as a pirate I don’t have that issue.

    When I bought a game past in the times, I had to put the physical DVD into the player, otherwise I couldn’t play. A pirate wouldn’t have this hassle.

    • I agree. Software and media companies need to realize that nothing they implement will fully solve privacy. But they need to make it work as seamlessly as possible. Managing licenses can actually be a substantial cost for an organization. In my mind, this is where open source wins–easy to trial and licenses are simple, not requiring management.

    • Well they are learning. Slowly but finally. When i inserted Cloud Atlas BD in my player i was greeted by short but very nice and unobtrusive 10 seconds video saying “By purchasing this disk you are supporting a local filmmaking community. Thank you!”
      It is a lot better than lecture me – a person who actually bought disk, how copying and downloading movies are baad, mkkkaayyy.
      Also – now they include small coupon inside sleeve: coupon has URL and code, allowing you to download digital copy of the movie for your own personal use to watch movie on PC, phone or tablet. Someone finally learns.
      As for software licenses – there are some products which are unable to work in virtualised environments, any smallest changes – and your license is declared null and void by product. They should be more considerate of virtual environments.

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