Revulytics Blog

Einstein's Software Piracy Strategy

March 9, 2011


Definition of Insanity


Over the last six months I have visited a large number of software companies to discuss how they handle Software Piracy. If they aren’t ignoring the problem, they generally fall into one of two camps:

  1. Those that feel license protection is the only response to Software Piracy, and
  2. Those that focus on Enforcement and Revenue recovery.

Interestingly, a large number pursue a single threaded protection strategy to the exclusion of the enforcement - sometimes for years - with consistent disappointing results. Which, according to Einstein's definition, is Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Only the Leaders seem to understand that both strategies are complementary responses to software piracy.

Testing the Theory

Is is just the Software Industry that thinks this way? There are plenty of real world examples of how one can’t practically pursue one without the other. I’ll use a simplistic example: Would you put your money in a bank with no vault or guards that keeps the cash in plain sight - relying only on the skill of the Police to recover all the money that gets stolen? Or a bank solely that relies solely on the strength of its steel vault, with no law enforcement assistance when there's a robbery? In many other facets of life it is just common sense that you need to balance protection with enforcement, but in the software industry it isn’t a given.

Balancing the Equation

The leaders in software compliance have figured out that a sound Software Piracy strategy embraces both equally: Protect what you can (at the very least to keep your honest customers honest), and vigorously pursue those who steal from you, even if they are existing customers.

Would a bank care that you were an existing customer if you robbed it? (Why some software companies are reluctant to enforce their contractual licensing rights with existing customers is a baffling topic for another day).

You can’t expect protection to solve 100% of the Software Piracy problem, just as your compliance team can’t be expected to recover revenue for every single license that is pirated. By pursuing a balanced, multifaceted, complimentary approach that embraces both protection and compliance, you will enjoy a sane strategy that works for the long term.

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Jim Nauen

Post written by Jim Nauen

VP, Sales and Operations at Revulytics

Jim Nauen has 20 plus years of enterprise software sales and compliance experience, recovering over $130M in software license compliance revenue