Software asset management helps curb pirated software
use of pirated software can put enterprises in the soup. Tarun Sawney,
Director, Anti-Piracy, Asia, Business Software Alliance (BSA), details ways
to help enterprises go the legal route. by Anil Patrick R
How many Indian businesses use pirated software?
The software piracy rate in India in 2004 was 74 percent
according to the BSA IDC Piracy Study. This is across all the sectors. BSA does
not have a breakdown for rate of piracy specifically for businesses.
What are the implications (legal and otherwise) that these
businesses face due to the use of pirated software?
Any use of pirated software has legal implications on the
offender. Companies can be penalised under the current Indian Copyright Act.
India has had a full-fledged copyright law in the form of
the Copyright Act of 1957, which came into effect on June 4, 1957. This Act
contains elaborate provisions protecting copyright in computer programs (software).
Software is treated as a Literary Work under the said law in India and therefore
imitation of software attracts punishment.
Other implications of copied or counterfeited software on
- Greater exposure to software viruses, corrupt disks,
or defective software
- Inadequate or no documentation. No warranties
- Lack of technical product support available to the
If an organisation is already using pirated software, how
can it go about rectifying past mistakes?
Any organisation using pirated software must realise the
implications that piracy can have on their businesses. In order to deal with
the problem they should adopt SAM, details of which can be found on www.bsa.org.
Nevertheless, as a first step, all unlicenced software should be deleted.
Can you suggest strategies that businesses can use to stamp
out the use of pirated software?
Businesses today need to understand the implications of software
piracy and thereby adopt ways to fight it. SAM is one such tool. It enables
businesses to identify and root out pirated software, and ensures that they
have appropriate licensing levels for their software needs, so that they are
in line with the countrys new copyright laws.
What are the benefits of using SAM?
There are various benefits of SAM.
- It helps cut costs
- Gives a chance to standardise versions in the company
and thus increase productivity and employee collaboration
- SAM reduces risk of viruses entering the IT network
of the company
- Easier budgeting makes it possible to invest elsewhere
- Consolidated licenses make it possible to upgrade
- SAM provides better software support
- Administration becomes easy.
How can piracy control measures be incorporated into an
organisations IT policy?
A company should make the use of legal software compulsory.
The IT policy of an organisation should be built in a way that benefits the
business of the organisation through the correct use of software policies.
Other than that, companies should apply SAM as a tool to
enable businesses to identify and root out pirated software, and ensure that
they have appropriate licensing levels for their software needs, so that they
are in line with the countrys copyright laws.
Building in checks and frequent software audits by qualified
IT people can reduce instances of unlicensed software. Employees should not
be permitted to load software onto a PC. Only IT staff should have the passwords
to load software.
Using a software audit tool can help identify the software
loaded on networked PCs pinpointing unauthorised versions.