Revulytics Blog

Shocking? LG Electronics Targeted in Software Piracy Investigation

September 2, 2010

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Recent news that LG Electronics' Russian branch is the target of a software piracy investigation brings to mind one of my favorite scenes from the movie Casablanca. We see the following exchange between Captain Renault and bar owner Rick during a police raid of Rick's Cafe Americain:

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
[aloud]
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

(Source: IMDB.com)

Upon seeing the news I was likewise "shocked, shocked to find that piracy is going on in here!"

But what "here" are we talking about?

  1. A publicly held company?
  2. In Russia?
  3. That designs and manufactures electronics?

Sadly, it's "all of the above." Our own research and data that our CodeArmor Intelligence customers have collected confirm these trends.

Our recent discussion of the case of AWR suing telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE is another recent example of a large company accused of using unlicensed software. While AWR appears to have collected its own evidence, in this case the BSA "asked police to check LG's computers after receiving an anonymous letter last year that the company was using pirated software." It also appears that the pirated software was graphic design tools from Adobe and Corel (as opposed to the electronic design automation software at issue in the AWR case).

So is there anything shocking (or at least surprising) about this news?

Perhaps two things. One: we are seeing more and more stories like this in the news and I suspect we will see even more as companies seek any competitive advantage they can get. Two: I am surprised that given these cases of large companies using unlicensed software that many ISVs remain content to sit back and wait for anonymous letters to alert them to piracy.

Why sit back and wait for the occasional whistleblower when piracy business intelligence methods can uncover a hidden pipeline of software revenue worth millions of dollars?

A final note: Congratulations to the Software Piracy Initiatives Forum member Anna Petrova of BSA's Russian branch (quoted in the Moscow Times article) for her efforts in the LG case!

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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.