Software piracy is the unauthorized copying, distribution, modification, or even selling of legally protected software. When software is acquired illegally and improperly used, it hurts your business, the software industry, and the economy.
Statistics show that by 2018 alone, there were 190 billion visits to pirate sites, and top on the list of the most affected countries is the US. Now that should ring a bell in your mind that you could be a victim anytime if you’re not careful.
Many firms have suffered from software piracy, and if you’re not careful, your company could be next on the line.
This article outlines steps you can follow to stop piracy as an individual or business
Step 1: Read End-User software License agreement carefully
The license defines how you can legally use the software, the number of computers you can install the software, and the possibility of having a backup copy. Most software companies will not allow you to install the software until you accept their agreement.
Step 2: Purchase the software CD from a reputable dealer
Piracies are a look-alike of the original, and if you’re not careful, you may end up buying the illegal one. To avoid that, you have to look for a reputable software company. Checking the manufacturer’s site will help you see the authentication markings that guarantee genuine software. For instance, Microsoft affixes a Certificate of authority label when packaging their products and other reputable companies use silk-screened artwork and their trademarks on their CDs. Do not purchase software that you’ve not verified. You can always contact the anti-piracy department of the manufacturer for clarification.
Step 3: Purchase software from the manufacturer’s website
Peer to peer file sharing sites are a big disappointments- don’t try them. Again, never make your software available on these sites-keep them off. These sites will offer offers and discounts that you may find pocket-friendly, but you end up disappointed.
Step 4: Register your software
Registering your software will keep others who may want to install it in their computers illegally. That is called soft-lifting and is the primary source of software piracy.
Step 5: Report piracy
If you discover that the software you purchased is not genuine, or could be a retail establishment is selling counterfeit, report it. This is a necessary action that will help safe others from the software thieves.
Business/ company measures
Step 1: Ensure you have a software policy statement distributed to all employees
Get some clear rules and guidelines defining the usage and distribution of company software. You also must have an anti-piracy statement that every employee must sign and return.
Step 2: Conduct regular software audit
Ensure that every employee has a record of the product name, version, and serial number of the software installed in their computers. This will help in tracking the authenticity and weed out any that is not genuine.
Software piracy compromises your computer, and you could suffer a loss if your company computers are hacked. To keep off such, you must ensure you get your software from an authorized dealer and confirm the manufacturer before you pay.