Revulytics Blog

Recognize the Limitations of Conventional Approaches to Addressing Software Piracy

July 22, 2016

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Tip 3:  Recognize the Limitations of Conventional Approaches to Preventing Software Piracy

[Readers with sensitive ears may wish to avoid this week's video clips]

Chances are, you have some combination of the following in place to thwart software piracy:

  • License management software
  • Software protection measures
  • An auditing program
  • A legal team
And chances are, this combination of measures has not sufficed to stop piracy nor recoup significant license revenue.

As a result, maybe you’re left feeling a little like Animal House’s Dean Vernon Wormer on his Sisyphean quest to quell Faber College’s Delta fraternity.  After years of failed attempts at stopping their antics, he declares they are on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION, manages to revoke their charter and even expel Otter, Boon and their loveable band of misfits. But as he watches a Delta-induced mayhem unfold at Faber’s Homecoming parade (replete with a Bluto who quite perfectly for our purposes is clad in actual pirate gear), he realizes his efforts are all for naught.

In a like manner, despite your best efforts, sometimes conventional approaches to software piracy won’t suffice, they’ll net zero…point...zero revenue for your business, and piracy will remain a costly and unaddressed challenge.

Seven Years of College Down the Drain?

Let’s examine the shortcomings of some popular software solutions aimed at ensuring compliance and preventing piracy. Even the best license management software – which offers an ISV’s customers tools to manage and monitor license consumption – lacks the reporting capabilities to reliably track overuse or piracy. Plus, it can’t track software that is deployed illegally. Likewise, software protection products are really a short-term solution. They can also affect performance, complicate installation, increase support costs, and direct R&D dollars away from delivering customer value.

ISVs will also assign people to the address the challenges of piracy by auditing customers or issuing takedown notices. These approaches are costly and resource-intensive, making it nearly impossible for most software vendors to mount an effort that will result in proportional generation of license revenue. Not only do the cost and complexity exceed the benefits, ISVs risk alienating customers by making allegations based only on anecdotal evidence and profiling, and engaging in lengthy fishing expeditions. 

They confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn’t steal!

The goal is to convert pirates to paying customers (many of whom don’t even know they’re using pirated software’t even know they’re using pirated software). It doesn’t make sense to be like Dean Wormer and take “the whole [sorry, this is a family publication] bar” and risk damaging potential or existing customer relationships. Its never a good idea to put your customers on double secret probation!

You need insight into how your products are being used and misused, who is using them, and where they are located. With actionable data and robust reporting functionality, uncovering and proving piracy is a lot easier. Layering a software intelligence approach enabled one of our customers, a top engineering simulation software provider, to generate 130 settlements in its first year, widen its compliance program to EMEA, and earn $3 million there in eight months.

Taking a software intelligence approach augments your existing approach to license compliance and piracy by:

  • Identifying the number of unlicensed users and their locations – giving you data to compare true usage to entitlements, and helping you identifying usage trends over time.
  • Alerting you when a new version of a point release has been cracked and adopted by users, and providing actionable intelligence to identify and reach out to them. 
  • Enabling data-driven auditing, so you’ll know what you’ll find and where to find it, increasing the likelihood of a quick settlement.
  • Providing insights into historical and geographical trends to drive future business strategy and decisions.

Layering software intelligence with current techniques will significantly strengthen your overall license compliance strategy, improve its effectiveness, and prevent future toga parties. For more tips on putting a layered approach to compliance in place, download our whitepaper.

Free Whitepaper: A Layered Approach to License Compliance

Summer – the perfect time to sit by the pool, soak in the sun and of course, contemplate your company’s software piracy problems. As you consider just how much you are losing to piracy, we thought we’d lend some lessons from another industry that is by no means immune to it – the movies. That standard of truth Entertainment Weekly recently ranked the 30 biggest summer blockbusters of all time. We’ve found that in each, some of the most memorable quotes and characters lend advice that can be applied to building strong compliance programs. Each week during this summer, we’ll share one of EW’s picks, and our take on how that particular classic lends lessons on designing a revenue recovery strategy that will break all box office records.

Software License Compliance Summer Blockbuster Series

Activate Your Data-Driven Compliance Program

Add new license revenue by detecting, identifying and converting unpaid users into paying customers.

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.