The two main businesses necessary to consider when it comes to software piracy are the companies that act as software producers and those that act as software consumers. Both are impacted by the current rise in software piracy and the changing laws regarding software copyright protection.
Since companies can be held responsible for using illegal copies of software, many companies have instituted software policies to make sure they are in full compliance with the copyright laws. These policies include educating employees about software piracy and providing strict procedures for acquiring software.
However, policies alone are not enough. Period audits of company computers
and networks must be performed on a regular basis in order to avoid stiff
fines and penalties, and stringent records must be kept.
The Better Business Bureau provides a free sample software policy statement that companies can use to craft their copyright protection programs.
Nevertheless, some companies are still taking a lax view of piracy. They do not see the point in "wasting" resources in order to enforce the elimination of a "victimless" crime. Such companies, after buying business software, often install multiple copies of the same program without getting multiple licenses, and turn a blind eye to reports of copyright infringement. Many organizations, including the SPA, provide anonymous online forms for employees to report software piracy at their workplace.
Microsoft provides an anonymous piracy report form on its website as well (right).
With the increase in vigilance and the stiffening penalties for business negligent in enforcing copyright laws, we can expect to see more and more companies take a proactive approach in dealing with piracy.
Software Producers are the parties most interested in stamping out software
piracy. To that end, they have supported organizations (like the BSA and
SIIA) which fight computer crime, and have lobbied the government for
stricter enforcement of copyright laws.
Microsoft, as one of the largest software makers, has an extensive web site devoted to computer piracy information at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/.
Microsoft is very active in education and awareness efforts, trying to educate consumers about the harmful impact of software piracy and the benefits of genuine software use. Microsoft has been adamant about pursuing legal actions through civil lawsuits filed against those engaged in pirating activities.
Microsoft is not the only company fighting piracy, however. Many other software manufacturers have founded or supported organizations that combat software piracy.