Debate: Software vendors should “partner” with pirates to fight unlicensed software use.


Independent software vendors (ISVs) have unsuccessfully fought against illegal use of their apps using current technology-based approaches, such as DRM and hardware dongles, as well as legal countermeasures and take-down notices. Technology countermeasures are overcome through reverse engineering by an adept cracking community while legal measures are thwarted by ever-growing underground file-sharing sites and social networks that prevent centralized monitoring.

These piracy channels have efficiency in the global distribution of apps through communication processes.

ISVs should take advantage of the value of information inherent in these piracy channels, including otherwise unaccounted for demand, use and adoption of their apps. These trends can paint a picture of overuse by existing customers, or even identify new customer markets. By embedding processes within apps to detect and report unlicensed software use, ISVs can indirectly “partner” with pirates to create new business intelligence and increase license revenue growth.

Victor DeMarines, VP of products, V.i. Labs


Microsoft advocates policies that ensure innovators, and those willing to invest in the development of new technologies are rewarded fairly for their efforts, according to the rights they have by rule of law.

Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative (GSI) focuses on investments across education, engineering and enforcement. The company is focusing on informing and protecting consumers and resellers from piracy. 

Piracy is not a mere nuisance. It is not possible for the average consumer to distinguish between a “well-intentioned” and “unscrupulous” pirate, who is working illicitly, much less whether they provide “safe counterfeit” or something that may cause irreparable damage to their data or systems. 

Each year, the software industry, its partners, and consumers lose billions of dollars to piracy. In the past two years alone, Microsoft received more than 150,000 complaints from customers reporting that they had been victims of counterfeit. In 2006, investigators purchased counterfeit versions of Microsoft software in 17 different countries.

Keith Beeman GM for worldwide anti-piracy, Microsoft

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