The Software Sheriff's in Town
According to Bob, "Most companies are not practicing deliberate software piracy, but merely keeping poor records. The problem is also exacerbated by the mergers and acquisitions that are prevalent in our industry." After reeling from the audit's results, Bob's company took precautions: "We have a centralized database that's fed locally, and right now we're squeaky clean and plan to stay that way."
Like Bob, we are forced to keep meticulous licensing records, but it seems like there should be an easier way. Just look at the cattle business. There's talk of implanting computer chips into cattle, allowing a GPS (Global Satellite Positioning) to track its location at all times.
If an old-economy industry like ranching can find software and programming solutions to combat theft, why can't software developers deploy a security system to protect their own assets? Here's an idea: Self-destructing applications that require the licensee to input a security code every so often. Seems simple enough. Obviously, there are many ways to solve this predicament. My hope is that software developers are actively addressing this issue, so that we can get back to the business of advertising production, rather than worrying about someone else's assets and revenue stream.
-Eve Asbury (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior vice president/director of print and digital production for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York City.