Pirates are still a hot topic in 2019, and we’re not talking about the Johnny Depp eyeliner pirates. ates with eyeliner. Microsoft software piracy, especially in business circles, could end up costing your company in name, reputation and big money. However, people still aren’t sure what is software piracy.
In the United States, more than a quarter of software programs used by businesses are illegal copies, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Their statistics show that for U.S. small businesses of less than 100 employees, the piracy rate exceeds 40 percent. Shockingly, the global piracy rate hovered at 42 percent in 2011, and the value of software piracy in the US totalled just more than $1.1 billion, according to the last published study by the BSA.
Working to protect its intellectual property, Microsoft settled more than 3,200 counterfeiting suits worldwide during the past year. That number included 35 cases in the U.S., in 19 different states; and 3,230 were international places that reached more than 42 different countries. It’s safe to say Microsoft is after pirates, and if you are trying to cheat them out of money, they’ll return the favor by litigating huge fees as punishment.
Why Businesses Use Pirated Software and the Risks
Many times, business owners will buy counterfeit software at competitively low prices, use unlicensed software to several employees at a time and license that same software to multiple computers – all in the name of cutting costs and saving the bottom line. Business Owners, however, don’t realize are the huge downsides of using pirated or counterfeit software:
- Microsoft Support is unavailable for pirated software when a problem occurs
- No upgrade information will be made available for unlicensed software, and no updates can be made.
- Pirated software sometimes contains viruses or malware, or stops functioning due to broken or incomplete code.
So is Your Company at Risk of a $150,000 Fine from Microsoft?
That dollar amount could be less or more, depending on agreements hashed out by lawyers rather than going through a costly court battle. Microsoft’s website says fines can be “$150,000 or more” and notes the BSA has previously offered cash in return for qualifying reports of illegal software use.
Microsoft has taken action and pursued anyone that pirates its software, no matter the country the counterfeiters are in – that means even China, the mecca of pirated software, is getting cracked down in the process. In fact, the the company recently made headlines by bringing together security engineers, digital forensics experts and lawyers to combat software pirates at its new Cybercrime Centre. If you have pirated Microsoft Software in the past, it’s safe to say that you will probably have a microsoft software license audit in your future.
Overall, Microsoft has an ongoing and extremely aggressive program to go after both individuals and businesses with pirated software. And while they certainly don’t have the authorization to levy an enforceable fine, penalties are offered in settlement to avoid litigation that could cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since Microsoft can afford a better lawyer than you could, it’s wise to consider purchasing the software instead of skirting the law. Believe it or not, there are disadvantages when it comes to software piracy.
What to Do If You Think Your Software is Illegal
If you think your business may have pirated software installed, there are a few easy steps to take.
1.Pull all financial records of IT purchases to see what proof you have;
2. Have an IT partner provide a full software inventory of all Microsoft and other programs installed on your network;
3.Look for any signs of software piracy such as Microsoft Genuine messages and machines where updates don’t work.
4.Purchase software to cover any deficiencies. We can help with the purchase and installation!
If you don’t have an IT partner to help you purchase MS Office licenses we at Rush Tech Support can help. We can guide you and provide you the best in Microsoft Software that will not leave you with piracy fees. We have analysts on the line, waiting for your call, and happy to help. Call us today at (844) 881-7874 or +18448817874.