For years high tech software companies have endured a consistent and ever growing piracy assault on their intellectual property, which, according to the BSA Software Alliance, has resulted in lost revenue of more than $46 billion a year.
Some have adopted the philosophy that piracy is part of the cost of doing business and there is no solution, but many have begun establishing license compliance programs to track illegal usage. Fortunately, the combination of torrent trackers and new anti-piracy applications that use tamper-detection technology are being developed to expose software piracy, and software vendors are now able to utilize these technologies to gather details of who is illegally using their software, when, where, and how often. Armed with telemetry data that provide evidence of license circumvention and illegal use, software companies are fighting back and using copyright laws to prevail in court.
Two industry leading software companies, one of which is Synopsys, have recently filed major lawsuits, one against the University of Rhode Island and the other against internet service provider (ISP) Comcast, and appear to be on their way to winning their battles. This should be an inspiration to others that, armed with illegal usage data, software piracy can be curtailed and lost revenue recovered through the court system.
Synopsys Inc. v. University of Rhode Island
Synopsys, an electronic design automation (EDA) company focusing on silicon design, silicon intellectual property, and software security, has filed a lawsuit against the University of Rhode Island (URI) for allegedly using its software illegally. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said the company has “established a likelihood of winning its case” and has ordered the university to stop using the software during the litigation of the lawsuit.
Leveraging the data gathered through its anti-piracy technology, Synopsys asserts that the university violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing its key-access control system more than 135,000 times on at least two workstations.
In October 2020, Denise Mingrone, partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, shared in a guest blog for Cylynt that under the DMCA, a plaintiff can recover an award for statutory damages for each violation of the statute.
Whilst the companies in these cases clearly know their products are being used illegally, as is evidenced by these cases, many software vendors do not know about illegal use of their products or, if they do know, have no idea what to do about it. By installing anti-piracy technology within their software, companies can gather data to understand exactly who is using their products illegally, where, when, and how often--data that can be used in negotiations to bring offenders under compliance and recover lost revenue, or, to prevail in a lawsuit.
Cylynt is the industry leader in anti-piracy and usage analytics software and recently announced that it has traced more than one-billion usage events in its software-as-service (SaaS) portal, resulting in approximately $2 billion of additional revenue for its customers since its founding in 2014. The usage event number is expected to double every 12 months as software piracy continues to climb.
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