REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 6, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of a national campaign, called
to generate awareness of the widespread use of illegal software in the workplace and to offer its corporate customers assistance with software management and licensing compliance.
Today, one of every four software programs used by businesses is pirated, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an industry association established to protect software copyright and prevent software piracy. The BSA estimates that last year alone, software piracy resulted in more than $11.2 billion in lost sales worldwide. In North America, lost sales in 1996 exceeded $2.8 billion – and accounted for as many as 130,000 lost jobs in the United States alone.
“Many managers don’t realize that when they use software on more machines than stipulated in their license agreements, or when their employees share unauthorized copies of software, they are committing a crime,”
said Sam Jadallah, vice president of the organization customer unit at Microsoft.
“We’re hoping that through Open Drive, we can make managers aware of the potential consequences of even inadvertent software piracy and encourage them to take steps to ensure that their companies are in full compliance with software license agreements and U.S. copyright law.”
The most prevalent form of software piracy in the United States involves business use of unauthorized copies. But piracy takes many forms, including the unauthorized copying, reproduction, use and manufacture of software. BSA investigators seek out and audit companies that may be using illegal software. And companies that are caught in the United States face fines of up to $100,000 per copyright infringement. Since 1993, the BSA has taken action against more than 1,500 U.S. companies and has recovered more than $23 million in settlements for software copyright infringement.
But there are other consequences that can also put employees who are using illegal software, and ultimately their companies, at risk, Jadallah said.
“Pirated software can be incomplete or contain viruses that create technical problems that take time and money to fix. Additional drawbacks to the use of illegal software include the inability to get technical support, manuals or product upgrades.”
“One of the most straightforward solutions available to companies that want to ensure they are staying legal is to participate in a Microsoft® software licensing program,”
said Tracey Maroc, anti-piracy marketing manager for North America, for the organization customer unit at Microsoft.
“Licensing programs not only guarantee companies that they are investing in genuine Microsoft products, but also can provide volume price breaks.”
Microsoft offers companies with as few as 10 PCs the option of acquiring software under the Open License program, allowing them to copy one software program on multiple machines. The Open License program also includes upgrade advantages and can help minimize administration, installation and training costs because all users have access to the same, current version of the product.
“If employees see someone stealing a company computer, they immediately recognize it is wrong. But not everyone stops to think about where the software they are using came from, or whether the company has a license for its use,”
“Microsoft has undertaken this effort to help customers better understand the issues, especially since many successful companies undergo rapid growth that can result in inattention to detail about software licenses.”
Company software managers who are unsure whether they or their companies are at risk should ask themselves these questions:
Does your organization have well-documented software usage policies, and, if so, are they clearly communicated to employees?
Do you have procedures for obtaining and recording new software licenses?
Do you use software metering and monitoring components on your network?
Does your organization have an employee who is responsible for software planning and license management?
Does he or she conduct regular software audits?
Do you know whether any of your employees are using copies of company-licensed software at home?
Those who are still unsure can contact Microsoft’s corporate accounts hot line for assistance at (800) 936-3500. Information about Microsoft’s Open License program is available online at http://microsoft.com/licensing/ . Microsoft also operates an anti-piracy hot line at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) that can provide assistance.
For more industrywide information about software piracy, call the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722). BSA operates 50 hot lines around the world for callers seeking information about copyright matters or to report suspected incidents of unauthorized copying of software. Callers in the United States can dial the toll-free hot line to speak with experts who regularly staff the hot line.
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