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How Many Companies are Really Using Licensed Software?

I am not sure what other people think or have experienced, but it has been my experience over the past 15+ years in the software industry that most companies do not have current licensing up to date for all the software that they use.

I don’t think that most companies are being devious and mean to cheat software companies out of their licensing fees.  On the contrary, many have very good intensions, but when it comes down to projects that get scrapped, the MIS guy’s task to ‘get the licensing sorted out and tell us where we are’ is often the first “extraneous” project to go. That leaves many companies drifting in an unknown sea of licensing where they may or may not be compliant.

I have, in the past, run into several extreme situations.  Everything from companies that had one copy of a popular software suite and were using it on 50 computers to companies that were buying software, and then letting half of the employees taking it home to use there too.  In one case, I found a company that simply did not know enough about licensing to know that they could not use Enterprise versions of everything everywhere. 

I think that a part of the blame has to be laid at the feet of the software makers themselves.  Rules are often cloudy and tend to be long and drawn out, so they are not properly read or understood.  When you do that people don’t follow them regardless of what kind of punishment you threaten.

The rest of this blame has to be focused directly on these companies both large and small.  I find the large ones tend to be bigger culprits, stating that they ‘could not possibly afford the manpower it would take to ensure the compliancy in software licensing’. 

I know that software companies state that the software prices would not be so high if there was no piracy or if the licensing was properly followed, but honestly, we all know this to be b.s. and that if the licensing was followed 100% tomorrow and piracy stopped, we would still not see prices drop.  That simply would not happen now that both sides have gotten used to the prices.  We are more likely to see $0.49 /litre gas again.

Regardless of this fact, we should all do our part to follow the software licensing as closely as we can and as far as we can understand it.  Software companies need to work to make that easier for everyone.  The idiots that outright steal software, well, they usually screw themselves up in the end

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