Revulytics Blog

Catch Software Pirates with Honey, Not Vinegar

August 14, 2019

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Consider it a compliment that a company wants to use your software product, even if it’s an unlicensed version. After all, despite the financial hit, the culprit could have chosen a competitor’s product.

But you obviously can’t let the free ride continue. So once you’ve identified unpaid use or the overuse of a paid license, instead of threatening legal action, take the opportunity to nudge the company about the benefits of proper licensing.

Honey, after all, tastes better than vinegar. While it’s tempting to lay down the law, a polite, informed conversation will more often than not convince the company of the errors of its ways and set a foundation that could lead to a lasting relationship. The strong arm of enforcement will probably backfire because many unauthorized users don’t even realize they downloaded a pirated version from what appeared to be a legitimate site. It’s just too easy for people to unwittingly download a pirated version on a secure online marketplace. It’s also easy for employees to pass along copies of software to coworkers and overuse their company’s paid license.

More than 80 percent of pirated software users in mature markets will pay for the product when they’re alerted, according to Adobe and Microsoft. With those users willing to change their ways, it makes sense to illustrate the benefits – including security updates and product upgrades – of paying for the software.

Thanks to software compliance analytics, you can see when and where your software is installed and discern if it is unlicensed use. That intelligence opens the door to an initial notification and then customer education. Revulytics, in fact, provides that door with our Piracy Response in-app messaging capability. We connect vendors directly  to unauthorized users through your applications. And with messaging that’s segmented by usage profiles, the message can even be tailored to fit the user’s location or use of specific features.

Knowing how often a company uses your product and how, you can craft an educational pitch on the pitfalls and dangers of relying on unauthorized software. With such detail you can lay out the benefits of forging a business relationship.

For instance, a paying customer receives the latest product updates and upgrades. New features that improve workflow are available without hesitation, while pirated versions are frozen with outdated features. Not to mention, software vendors usually give their customers a voice at the table and accept feedback for product development. An unlicensed user certainly won’t have a say in how to improve your features.

Additionally, organizations face a 33-percent chance of encountering malware when they install an unlicensed software package or buy a computer with unlicensed software on it, according to the latest report from the BSA. With BSA estimating a malware attack costs $2.4 million on average and takes as many as 50 days to resolve, companies will assuredly think twice about inviting such trouble with unauthorized software. After pointing to those and other alarming statistics about malware and viruses, you can pivot the conversation and highlight the security benefits of using your software: updated encryption and authentication, enhanced access control, and current compliance standards.

With software compliance analytics identifying unlicensed use and with features such as in-app messaging providing a platform for communication, you’ll have the opportunity to play good cop and convince companies to pay their fair share. With your company as their new partner, they’ll be able to reach new heights in business, knowing you have their full support.

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Victor DeMarines

Post written by Victor DeMarines

Vice President, Products & Strategy at Revulytics

Victor DeMarines brings extensive security product management and marketing experience to Revulytics, where he is responsible for product strategy and direction. He is a frequent speaker and author on topics including piracy, reverse engineering and the protection of intellectual property.