Software Piracy Protections Need Rebooting, Study Finds1:33 PM EST Thu. Mar. 21, 2013
Software piracy is a serious concern, but developers often find it challenging to build in safeguards to prevent intellectual property theft, according to a survey conducted by SafeNet and the Software and Information Industry Association. The survey reached 814 people, including 620 software developers. More than 70 percent called piracy prevention their greatest challenge. "Inflexible licensing models, insufficient protection techniques, and complex, disjointed operational processes continue to be pervasive, and as a result, companies are putting their critical IP, revenue base and brand reputation at risk," according to the report, "State of Software Monetization: Revenue and IP at Risk."
More than 48 percent of software developers said they lost revenue due to software piracy, yet only 58 percent of software publishers claimed they employed proper mechanisms to combat piracy efforts, the study found. A big problem is combating competitive intellectual property theft, with about half of software publishers indicating it had a significant impact on their business.
Software publishers said intellectual property was at risk of being lost because of the challenges associated with implementing reverse-engineering protections or code-tampering prevention technology. More flexible licensing models could help alleviate some of the problems, the study found. Forty-five percent of the respondents believe that they have suffered some form of revenue loss due to unintentional violation of licensing agreements.
Built-in mechanisms to enforce licensing or add flexibility to licensing and features were used by 58 percent of software publishers surveyed. Only 46 percent of those surveyed indicated proactively implementing any technology to protect software intellectual property.
Many software makers fail to implement appropriate data-tracking technology into their products, resulting in a 68 percent revenue loss, according to the study. About 60 percent of those surveyed said using a tracking feature was a challenge, followed by collecting information about end users and tracking the entitlement status of the user based on the license purchased.
Nearly 82 percent of respondents said better software-packaging techniques could yield higher revenue. Rather than thinking of security, software features and licensing models as separate silos, organizations need to design their business models and security strategy together, the study found. Automated licensing enforcement was viewed as the most important priority by 63 percent of those surveyed, followed by flexible packaging and ease of use. Strong security features came in next with 51 percent indicating it should be a priority.