It is not always readily apparent when an enterprise is operating unlicensed software as part of their IT asset stable. In a fast-growing business, the record-keeping often does not keep up with the pace of growth as decisions are made quickly to ramp up and fill demand. IT acquisitions increase at a record pace, and the usual details get left behind in the flurry. Now, when it comes time to gathering up the pieces, reestablish order, and confirm compliance, the particulars are often hard to find.
When it comes to Software Asset Management, the territory is wide and varied and is constantly expanding as new technology evolves. The enforcers of Software License Compliance are the creators of these software solutions and the trade organizations that represent them. Their vision of securing their intellectual property is broad and encompassing and examines all the nooks and crannies when searching for theft.
By far the largest area of software piracy is simply over-installation. Licensed software is downloaded on to more computers than have been authorized under licensing agreements. Disks copied for ease of installation and distribution then find their way beyond industry compliance and without the oversight of a centralized IT Software Asset Management data base.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) defines Software Piracy as follows:
End-user piracy occurs when an employee reproduces copies of software without authorization. End-user piracy can take the following forms:
• Copying disks for installation and distribution.
• Using one licensed copy to install a program on multiple computers.
• Taking advantage of upgrade offers without having a legal copy of the version to be upgraded.
• Acquiring academic or other restricted or non-retail software without a license for commercial use.
• Sharing account or service access information.
Let us also clarify that the same license agreements that apply to software distributed in physical channels are also law in internet and cyberspace transactions and the U.S. Copyright Act does not differentiate. As well, licensing isn’t the only way software is protected; copyright and patent law also protects software from unauthorized copying, distribution, and sale.
Cloud Piracy, according to the BSA, includes web-based distribution of pirated software and under-licensing in a private cloud model, and public cloud distribution of software without a license to redistribute. Their seminal 2014 “The Compliance Gap BSA GLOBAL SOFTWARE SURVEY” notes that compliance models and subscription abuse include the specific cloud computing services such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). No stone is left unturned … all infringement is prohibited and subject to criminal prosecution as well as deep civil penalties and fines.
Do you know where your software is? Including Software Management in your IT Asset Management System is vital in exposing unknown software compliance liabilities and hidden software theft.
Next Blog in the SAM Series talks about the potential costs of a software audit including: Time, Energy and Fines.
Scott Restivo has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. A certified systems engineer, with CNE, MCSE, and CCNA designations, he consulted to major corporations and the military …read more
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Crow Canyon Systems and a clickable link back to this page.