How to Prevent Software Piracy
Before the Internet, pirating software required strenuous efforts. Disks had to be exchanged physically through the mail and on the streets. Physical software piracy still exists, especially in third world countries. Today As technology continues to advance, software piracy is becoming more prevalent. Today, software piracy has moved from the streets to the Web.
5 Steps to Prevent Software Piracy
- Release a “Freemium” version of your application or product. A freemium version of your application can help bring in customers who might normally pirate your software.
- Use a license key to activate your application. We’ve used Keygen.sh with good success.
- Go to Google and look for pirated version of your application. Submit a DMCA request to have the URL or Site removed from the Google search index. This is a powerful way to reduce the discovery and download of the pirated version of your application.
- Contact the site that is pirating your software, and reach out to the site owner and ask for removal. This is often overlooked, but extremely powerful way to limit the piracy of your application. Some pirate sites have “remove request option as well.
- Last but not least, push updates more frequently with updated features. Often, pirated software will not update automatically. These updates with new features and services can push users using pirated software to move a paid and secured version the application.
Fundamental Sources of Software Piracy
Peer-to-peer (P2P), auction, and social networking sites are some of the main software piracy sources in the software industry. Software pirates tend to sell illegal copies of counterfeited software online at meager prices on auction Websites.
Adobe’s Anti-Piracy Initiative indicated that over 90 percent of software sold on auction Websites is illegal. While P2P networking is an effective way to share files online, it is often abused and used to propagate illegal software on the Web. According to Symantec employee Téo Adams, the rise of P2P file-sharing has made it possible to distribute and obtain the software on the Web for free (see reference 5).
Dangers of Software Piracy and How to Prevent It
There are many risks of downloading pirated software to a computer. The Business Software Alliance indicates that there is a strong link between software piracy malware infiltrations and hacking. Malware programs can cause permanent damage to a computer, and the owner may lose sensitive data. According to Microsoft, P2P shared files include risks such as spyware, Trojans, and viruses. Those who download illegal software (without a software license) will also have limited access to upgrades to functionality, technical support, and malware protection.
Software Piracy Protection Law
Since software piracy violates software developers’ (intellectual property and license agreement) rights and hurts them of potential revenue, the government is taking serious action against software piracy. The Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance are working rigorously to stop software piracy. Both the Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance encourage users to report software piracy. If people are caught pirating software, they will be liable under both criminal and civil law. The government can criminally prosecute and fine them up to $250,000.
6 Long-Term Ways to prevent Software Piracy
- Review the BSA “Guide to Software Management.”
- Create strong policies for buying software and intellectual property rights.
- Teach to employees and the public the importance of protecting person computers from unlicensed or pirated software.
- You must track the amount of your software installations vs the number of licenses purchased.
- Perform regular software audits to protect against software piracy.
- Offer significant discounts (like student discount)to users who might otherwise be tempted to pirate you software.
Using open-source software (Freeware) is an effective way of preventing software piracy. Open-source programs are also becoming widespread on the web. The authors of these programs usually generate revenue from donations and contextual advertising. Avoid buying seemingly cheap software from auction Web sites.
The pirates will often sell the pirated software at a lower price to increase the incentive to buy it. Always buy software from the main developer to avoid scams. Be careful when browsing through P2P file-sharing Web sites. Premium expensive pirated software is usually distributed for free on these Web sites.
Contact the main developer of the software for a free trial of the software. Most programs have a free or a trial version. Software developers enjoy it when people review their software. Software developers often give the reviewer the full version of the software to perform a review. Therefore by tactfully asking the software developer for the full version of the software to perform a review, it is possible to get free software.
Software developers, software vendors, software companies can prevent software piracy by using more secure methods to build programs with strong software policy. Software pirates often “crack” the registration codes or serial numbers of software programs.
Therefore, use enhanced security features to prevent pirates from “cracking” the software. Software developers also need to inform customers about the consequences of software piracy. Inform them that pirating software is illegal and can be fined up to $250,000 and liable under criminal and civil law. This will help prevent them from pirating the software throughout the web. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) also recommends reporting software piracy.
Fighting software piracy is a challenging task both for the software developers and the public at large. The public and private sectors must do everything they can to limit software piracy.