ISSUE 602: Zisman- May 5 2001
The high-tech office
companies get tougher on
R-U-Legit? CAAST, the Canadian
Alliance Against Software
Theft, has been hoping that local businesses, schools, and other groups
spent the month of April asking themselves that question.
April, according to CAAST, was "an amnesty
period that allows businesses
in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver the month to review their
software programs and acquire the licenses they need to get legal
facing penalties for past infringement imposed by CAAST."
According to the group, representing a dozen or
so large software companies
including Apple, Adobe, Symantec, and
"a study conducted by International Planning and Research Group
(IPR) indicated that in 1999 software piracy cost British Columbia,
and Manitoba a total of $135 million in retail sales of business
CAAST suggested that organizations interested in
cleaning up their acts
download the free GASP Software Audit tool at www.caast.org/truce or
the Truce hotline at 1-866-NO-PIRACY.
Large enterprises typically purchase discounted
bulk licenses of software
titles, control access through corporate networks, and have staffing
to information technology.
Smaller organizations, however, may find
themselves with a tougher job
trying to ensure that they are in compliance with software licenses.
At least some of the problem lies in the
software licenses themselves,
the several screens of legalese that most of us skip over, while
"I agree." But the licenses vary widely.
Some software licenses let purchasers use the
products "like a book,"
installing them on multiple computers as long as only one is running
software at a time. Others allow installation on a single desktop
and a single notebook. Or allow business users to install a copy on a
machine as well, facilitating working at home.
Still other licenses are more restrictive;
purchase of a single copy
gives the right to install it onto a single computer. Period.
Networks cause other complications. Owning
thirty licenses may give
a company the right to run the product on any thirty workstations at
time. Microsoft, however, is one of a number of companies that recently
made its licenses more restrictive. Now, if you want to run, say,
Office across your network, you need to purchase a license for each
where it might be run, even if it is never used on more than a limited
number of computers at a time.
Not only do different companies use different
models of software licensing,
but different products from the same company may have different
as may different versions of the same product.
Are you confused? Don't worry, you have company.
Microsoft, for one, is taking steps to make it
harder to use unlicensed
versions of its upcoming releases. The next versions of Office and
are both promising to enforce registration, in an effort to cut down on
Office XP, due on May 31, and Windows XP, due
out in the fall, are expected
to come with product activation features. When run for the first time,
like many current products, they offer to register themselves online.
Unlike previous versions, users who choose not
to register will only
be able to use the programs a limited number of times. (Purchasers
Internet access will be able to phone in to obtain a registration key
unlock the programs.)
Moreover, the product activation is tied to a
user's hardware, making
it difficult or impossible to install the same copy on multiple
while allowing reinstallation in case of problems.
Corporate purchasers, needing to install onto
hundreds of systems, will
be able to obtain versions that avoid the rigmarole.