Campaign highlights move away from traditional beliefs about software piracy as industry now focuses on the legally minded, accidental license infringement
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and long-term industry member V.i. Labs, have launched a campaign aimed at educating software providers about individuals and businesses who unintentionally use software that is not licensed correctly. The campaign dispels long held beliefs that have resonated within the industry for decades – that all pirates are individuals who deliberately copy and use software with no regard to intellectual property. Not so.
Working together, FAST and V.i. Labs aim to raise awareness of the realities of unpaid licenses and accidental, but material, infringement. Legally inclined businesses and end users who are unaware that they are using unlicensed software represent a significant business opportunity for software providers.
Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST, stated: “Over the past year there has been a very clear move by the global software industry to take a new approach to addressing the growing issue of unintentional piracy as a result of unpaid licenses in business. According to research from Microsoft, Adobe and Disney, 83 percent of software pirates in mature markets such as the UK are legally inclined victims of software piracy who, once made aware of their infringements, will happily convert to being bona fide customers receiving all the benefits of being a paying customer.”
These legally inclined software users often have no idea that they are using unlicensed software. For example, an employee with part-time IT responsibilities may have mistakenly installed software onto everyone’s computers using just one license key. Home workers may have had software installed by a friend trying to be “helpful” which then causes a compliance headache for their company. Unsuspecting buyers are often duped when purchasing from online sites that target buyers looking for discounted software. It is not uncommon for prices of counterfeit software to be just below the usual price, giving the offer an air of legitimacy.
V.i. Labs enables software vendors to generate revenue from unpaid software use – many of whom are well-intentioned victims of piracy. V.i. Labs’ customers use a compliance strategy that includes the detection, identification, and conversion of unpaid use to paying customers using data from the company’s CodeArmor® Intelligence solution and services. Since 2010, its customers have generated more than $1.4 billion in new license revenue from their compliance programs.
“We are delighted to be working with FAST on this educational campaign. Our customers have experienced significant ROI thinking differently about ‘the pirate’ and ensuring that the ‘unintentional pirate’ receives all the benefits of a paying customer,” noted Joseph Noonan, CEO of V.i. Labs. It’s critical that the software industry as a whole continue to tailor its approach to identify and communicate with the unintentional victims of illegal software and work to convert them into paying customers. The industry is quickly moving away from the ‘fire and brimstone’ approach of the past when any user caught with pirated software was threatened with fines, reputational damage and more. Putting the focus on the customer relationship is mutually beneficial to vendors and users alike, while diminishing the impact of the enablers of piracy.”
The campaign will encompass educational content including a webinar in June and a series of informative articles by industry experts appearing on the FAST and V.i. Labs websites. Subscribe to the FAST Newsletter and V.i. Labs Blog for the latest updates on the campaign.