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Software License Management — Your Patriotic Duty?

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I woke up this morning feeling something like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.” On NPR: yet more bad economic news from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Despite forecasts predicting a December turnaround in the employment market, the economy actually shed another 85,000 jobs. Seriously? Again?

You may recall in the economic downturn of 2001, George Bush famously pleaded for consumers to “go shopping” as a patriotic duty that would help lift the nation out of recession. Well, if, like me, you’re not inclined to go spend your recently decimated nest egg, given the tepid “jobless recovery” that seems to be underway. But maybe you’re more inclined to spend a little of your company’s money as a patriotic act of economic stimulus known as “software license management.”

Still with me? If so, hear me out:

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), since 2004, has been tracking the global software piracy rate and calculating the resulting economic loss in terms of both dollars and jobs. The BSA’s most recent study revealed that 21% of software used in the United States is unlicensed, correlating with an estimated $9.1 billion loss of revenue to software publishers. To understand what this might mean in terms of jobs, the BSA, jointly with IDC, endeavored to study piracy’s affect on jobs at the state level. One arm of the study focused on Illinois, and concluded that “software piracy resulted in an estimated loss of 5,646 jobs in Illinois or the equivalent of building 1,229 affordable housing units or building 11 new middle schools.” Now, I have no idea what kind of research methodology they used to come up with these numbers, but no matter how you slice it, software piracy undeniably siphons legitimate revenue away from vendors, which, as any economist will tell you, has a direct impact on employment.

Given all this, one might make the argument that if we all did our part to embrace software license management and ensure that every piece of software we run is legal, we would indirectly create jobs, and, in essence, inject a whopping $9.1 billion stimulus package into the global economy. Oh, and there’s a financial incentive for you, too: By adopting an effective software license management strategy, you’ll avoid much more costly piracy penalties in the event of a software audit. (How does $150,000+ in copyright infringement penalties sound when your software budget is still in toilet?)

Perhaps if we all did our part to close our license deficits, we’d not only ensure that we’re abiding by the law, but also contribute to the infusion of much-needed capital into our economy, putting our economy back on the path to strong, sustainable growth.

And maybe Punxsutawney Phil will finally crawl out of his hole.

[Warning: Those who know me know that I’m somewhat prone to hyperbole; this post is no exception.]