Revulytics Blog

Forbes: The Inevitability Of Internet Pirates

June 16, 2009

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Andy Kessler has an interesting commentary on piracy on Forbes.com titled, "The Inevitability Of Internet Pirates."

While he focuses mostly on "music, TV shows, movies and, as it's known on the Web, pr0n," his comments apply to pirated software as well (emphasis added):

"Like it or not, the Web is and will remain the Wild West....Plus, it is so easy to create a Web service to download copyrighted material that, like that arcade game Whac-A-Mole, if you take one culprit down with your mallet another five pop up in the next few nanoseconds. Sad but true, there is not much anyone can do."

The availability of pointers to pirated materials on Pirate Bay (or even Google) enable piracy - they make it too easy to find and download software and copyrighted content. Kessler offers an alternative approach that we agree with and have been advocating as well: new business models.

"So make all the legal arguments you want. No matter what court decisions are rendered and no matter what laws are passed, copyright infringement is going to happen. So these folks should stop suing their customers and lobbying for more laws and instead come up with new business models that pirates can't follow them into."

While the examples he cites relate more to copyrighted content than software, it is crucial for software vendors to consider new business models for recovering revenue lost to pirated use. In the case of software vendors that can sometimes mean pursuing legal channels to recover revenue from the businesses that are actually using unlicensed applications - but first you have to be able to identify who those businesses are. Regular readers of Code Confidential will recall that we are proponents of piracy business intelligence as a means of identifying these businesses.

Once a vendor has this information, it can decide on the best approach - whether it is direct sales or legal contact with an infringing organization, building partnerships in a given region or industry, or an altogether new business model for addressing the issue.

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.