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  • #2273408

    software pirates in the workplace


    by justmakingit ·

    I had until recently held an IT postion within a small organization that contained only pirated software. Since I was the sole IT person within the organization, I confronted the director and told them that all of the software was illegal and that there would be dire consequences it was brought to the attention of Microsoft, Adobe etc. The director didn’t want to hear anything about it and was told to forget about it because no one would find out. My question is this… do I, as an IT professional, have the responsibility to confront large manufacturers showing the illegal software? And does it come down on me if they are caught?



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    • #2727236

      Silence may equal conspiracy

      by stress junkie ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If you live in the United States then certain “recent”
      legislation such as the DMCA and the Patriot Act may
      make you eligible to be charged with conspiracy to
      commit software piracy if you don’t speak out.
      Additionally since you were the only IT guy at the site
      you might also qualify for charges of actual piracy. And
      if you don’t rat out the company then you might also
      be charged with implied sins of omission, something
      like what Martha Stewart was recently convicted of
      doing. Actually she stated to the Feds that she wasn’t
      guilty of a crime while in your case you are simply not
      saying anything to the Feds. But if you’ve ever had a
      girlfriend then you know that not saying anything is
      the same as a lie. This whole legal situation in the
      United States reminds me of when I was a pup many
      decades ago we were told about the horrors of living in
      the Soviet Union where neighbors and even children
      had to rat out parents and neighbors or be sent to the
      gulag. The same was true about the Gestapo during
      Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. That’s the
      situation in the United States now.

      Before you think about bringing this matter to the
      attention of law enforcement I think you should get an
      attorney to make a deal for personal immunity from
      prosecution for you. And you should have tried to hide
      your real name in this forum a bit better.

      When I was in high school so many decades ago I had
      a teacher that said that the Soviet Union was becoming
      more like the United States and that the United States
      was becoming more like the Soviet Union. Apparently
      that trend continued all these years. Pretty soon if you
      want to live in a free society you will have to move to

      • #2719602

        What about in th UK

        by nicktheman33 ·

        In reply to Silence may equal conspiracy

        Hi I am having the same problem. What laws are there in the UK regarding this issue?

        • #2720414

          Uk legislation

          by johna_smith ·

          In reply to What about in th UK

          I think you will find that piracy, within Companies, in the UK has the following penalties;

          ?10,000 pound fine and upto 5 years imprisonment.
          The company board or the managing directory are held responsible, each member can be fined

        • #2720412

          …and IT managers

          by nicktheman33 ·

          In reply to Uk legislation

          What is the penalty for an IT administrator / manager if he/she does not inform the director etc… And what is the penalty if they do inform the director but they refuse to comply?

        • #2720276

          Get Licensed FAST

          by slogginit ·

          In reply to …and IT managers

          The current penalties in the UK is actually unlimited fines, and up to 2 years imprisonment.

          A site I use for a Benchmark is

          Thats the FAST site (Federation Against Software Theft), a body created to raise awareness of Software Piracy in businesses.

        • #2703969


          by choppit ·

          In reply to Uk legislation

          About 18 months ago a FAST officer dropped in on me for an eductational visit. According to him the UK penalty is a maximum of ?10,000 per offence and/or 6 months in prison. This applies to both the Director and Manager responsible for IT.

        • #2703967


          by choppit ·

          In reply to FAST

          Your software licencing obligations don’t necessarily stop once you pay for the licence. Any updates/patches you apply can supersede the original licencing agreement putting you in breach of conditions. Also, software manufacturers can consider your licence invalid if your vendor isn’t approved to sell the software to you in the first place.

        • #2702821

          I have been through this

          by caractacus potts ·

          In reply to Uk legislation

          You have to make a judgment call. Whose arse is on the line if the compnay gets caught? If it’s your’s then you have to take out some insurance, because you’ll get the blame for it if you get caught. What is the company’s financial position? If the company can afford to pay the licences then it should. Senior Managers and CEOs don’t understand that IT comes at a cost (an ongoing and sometimes increasing cost) and they have to pay the piper. If you can tip off FAST I would if I were you, but your boss will probably know it was you. Otherwise find some articles from FAST about their prosecutions and try to persuade your boss about the merits of paying for the licences.

          Good Luck.


    • #2727103


      by jkaras ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      In business you have to be legit. Do you have any certs? Because if you do and your work is caught yours will get stripped and banned for life towards any test. I dont envy your position, if you rat on the boss no one will trust you, if you stay there is risk, if you leave you have to start all over. I personally would start looking for other employment if I were there it is too much liability but understand the job market these days. My room mate has illegal servers at his work that they all stress over, each take turns hiding the server when audits come around and he works for just about the largest health insurance company. It’s wrong to have this practice at work but it happens more often than not. One or two daliances is one thing but an entire network? Wow, major nads, your boss really likes to live dangerously.

      • #2719687


        by makins ·

        In reply to ah..yeah

        I have first hand experience with a BSA audit on a client of mine. More than likley, the BSA will not go after your certs but do not take solice in this because it is possible. You should instead CYA. Send an email to your boss and your bosses boss informing them of the situation. Afterall, it is your responsibility as the IT director to ensure compliance with all applicable laws. In this email, emphasize that just once copywright violation can cost their organization a $100,000 fine. Now multiply this figure times the amount of software that you need to purchase. (Nuff Said). Now save this email and their response for a rainy day. You should also put this too them in simple terms. Ask them if they would like a new lexis. Then ask them if you should go out and steel one for them. When they look at you funny, just mention that steeling software amounts to the same thing. Wrong is wrong, no matter how much spin you put on it.

        • #2719682

          RE: CYA

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to CYA

          I might add to makins’ observation that in the e-mail he might include open-source replacement deployment costs in his facts and figures to migrate away from the pirated commercial software. I agree that stealing (spelling correction) is not just against the law in its letter, but it is against most unwritten codes of social contact.

        • #2719669

          step further

          by brichardson ·

          In reply to RE: CYA

          One thought to further rick’s excellent idea is to map out and document a plan for moving toward compliance. Make it very detailed and comprehensive. Include budget variences that may need to be approaved from the higher ups and stretch it out over a 5 year period (this takes some of the sting out of it). Indicate that (upon your hire date) you became aware of the fact that the software in use was not legitimate and that you intend to move toward compliance. Even if the boss won’t sign off on it, at least it, coupled with the other documentation of correspondance with your boss, will c.y.a…as it was so adequately worded.
          I offer this based on experience with walking into an organization that was “unaware” of the dire situation they were in having exceeded licensed installations and the use of “less than legitimate” software. Once the leg work was done with the planning and it was submitted in black and white, it was suddenly agreeable to the higher ups. Scary stuff but, it doesn’t need to cost you your job or excessive amounts of sleep. Good luck.

        • #2719570

          It’s a Business Risk

          by is girl ·

          In reply to CYA

          I have only worked for one company that was diligent about making sure all software was leagal. This company has a recently aquired plant with about 25 users audited by the BSA. Each of these users shared a single copy of Windows and MS Office. The fine was 2.5 million dollars.

          The aquiring company was large enough to absorb the fine and stay in busines, but a smaller company would not survive a penalty like this.

          I find it’s critical to present this practice as a risk to the entire business and remind Sr. Management at every opportunity (in writing if possible) that they are putting the company you work for at risk of bankruptcy.

          There is a huge problem with people stealing non-tangible items like software, movies, music, etc. They seem to think that it’s no huge loss to the corporation they are stealing from — probably because they might not use the item if they had to pay for it.

      • #2720386

        Squell or not to Squell, that is the question

        by jfreedle2 ·

        In reply to ah..yeah

        The director’s response would tell me that I need to tell the appropriate authorities because the director does not place any value on people’s work and therefore needs to be shown the light.

        • #2720215

          The only problem here is

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Squell or not to Squell, that is the question

          If you report the current situation the company very likely will end up out of business and you’ll have a black mark against your name with the stamped impression of {Never to be employed anywhere again!}

          I’ve seen a few cases of things like this where a copy of a program is installed on several computers but to date I’ve never seen a situation where all the software is illegal.


        • #2713363

          The Hell of software piracy

          by jorge ·

          In reply to The only problem here is

          I was reading the discussion regarding the software piracy thorugh the world. In Brazil a great major part of small and reasonable part of medium sized bussiness still employ non legall software, begining with operational system. And it?s quite common that the company owner, major quotaholder, director, manager, and so on, don?t WANT to discuss the ilegal situation. I agree with HAL9000 that if any IT professional point out the situation to the software creator, he/she are immediately work killed with a “black mark” on his/her professional profile and name.

        • #2704334

          Black mark?

          by itgirli ·

          In reply to The Hell of software piracy

          What happened to honor or integrity? What happened to standing up to the boss and making it known that they are doing something illegal. I would be more willing to hire someone I could trust to be honest regardless of what side he’s on. Of course I’m just a contractor, what do I know.

    • #2727076

      Ethically – Yes … Legally not Sure

      by jimhm ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Ethically you should say something to someone even hire than your director. If they dismiss you or try to force you out – those are all actionable in the USA. It’s all part of the Whistle Blowers protection law.

      So – I would approach the owner – or VP – or President – let your boss know that you are going that way. Play everything upfront…

      If the when the defication hits the rotary occsalator – you better have on your slicker.. the director – will point his finger right at you… for installing the stuff.

      CYA – Emails sent and received… if you try and no action – then you are covered. If the dismiss you – you have recourse – and I am sure MS / Adobe would pay you a few dollars as a finders fee…

      But its and interesting position they put you in – You are kind of sitting in the cat birds seat… Hey – where’s my good raise – Oh no money – I guess I’ll call M.S. or the SPA – how about Adobe.. Oh your going to lay me off –

      It will be interesting – you could just leave and find a new job … but I think this one would be fun …

    • #2727024

      1st mistake

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Telling the boss, who probably already knew, now implicates you in his eyes if the authorities come down. Of course, he’d be the first to blame you in a legal battle, feigning technical incompetence on his own part. Do you have any documentation that says the software was already there when you were hired? If not, let it go and avoid such places in the future.

      Conversely, if the authorities came for another reason, then you will be implicated by them since you are the IT guy, unless you were the one that called them.

      Don’t consider this legal advice, since I’m not a lawyer. And if you do decide to tell MS, be prepared to endure legal proceedings either as a witness or in a countersuit from the company you worked for. Ain’t law grand?

      • #2720262

        produce a proof of software was already present

        by theboss ·

        In reply to 1st mistake

        use an auditing software to audit all computer to find the installation dates of all pirate software..there are some program which let u do that i belive..

        produce a hard copy get it approved by the ceo / directors and keep is along with the proof of ur hiring date..

        if BSA busts them..ur hands are clean..

        regularly email / submit to ceo’s and directors stories abt compaines caught with pirate software and penalty they paid..

        stress in then end of each such email.. the need to legalize software in ur organisation and rough calculations of penalty if your company is busted by BSA

        keep all such emails in your record..along with replies to such emails from directors…

    • #2727000

      When I had this issue…

      by mlayton ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      …I wrote a memo explaining the “Consequences of unlicensed software” – I think the BSA still has a lot of information on their site for something like that – it gave facts and figures (i.e. – and these numbers are made up to give you the idea – in the year 1997 95% of reports of unlicensed software were filed by disgruntled employees. The resulting fees per company were avg $500,000 and 3 years in prison for top management) or whatever. Then provide in same memo facts on what it will take to get them licensed (there are 6 computers with unlicensed powerpoint, only 2 people use it, and so X copies of office pro is $X). It wasn’t on their desk 2 days before I had a PO to buy the software. In addition, I ran it by my lawyer who assured me that bringing it to the attention of the company and giving specifics on how to solve the problem relieved me legally should they be fined (they can’t claim no knowledge), although you would still have to deal with the problems of certs if they DONT purchase the software.

      • #2726943

        I did a similar thing.

        by admin ·

        In reply to When I had this issue…

        I included a documentation trail in every related presentation and communication afer talking about it didn’t help a lot. Finally, when I asked in writing for any references to software or licensing management be removed from my job description they initially said yes, but then someone must of told them removing this would be a problem… so we got up to speed after that. I was extremely nervous and uncomfortable during the whole thing. Even if you cover yourself legally the ethical problems are a nightmare.

        One of the most effective things I did was showing a video from the Business Software Alliance that showed U.S. Marshalls showing up with warrants at a business. After people watched this, some started clueing in a lot better. I believe the title was “It Could Have Been So Easy”
        I did it in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation that was supposed to forecast what our needs and growth would be the following year. It was pretty effective.

        I got the video through the Business Software Alliance. I think it was called: “It Could Have Been So Easy”.

        They have a new one now though: “Software Priacy: a Costly Mistake.”

        I figured that my workplace would love to put someone else down as software manager on a job description after I started to pursue anti-piracy training for the company (or fire me), but it turned out they did a complete 180 degree turnaround and started buying correct licensing after that.

        Good luck to every one going through this, it’s hard when you have kids and need a job.

        • #2719691

          I can relate to this

          by jsdutcher ·

          In reply to I did a similar thing.

          My first IT job I had as a network Administrator was tough because of this very reason. Plus I was the only IT person in the company and everyone else (including the director) all had Master’s thought they were untouchable. When the ruling came out I took it to them and told them either get licensed or else because I will not take the blame for their mistakes. Within 2 months I had the funds to purchase everything. Bottom line is this, protect outself first because I believe that most businesses will make you take the fall instead of them. MOST businesses do not care for the employee’s like they use to 10,20 yrs ago.

    • #2725220

      thanks for the imput

      by justmakingit ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      As I mentioned, I had until recently held the position, I am now in an organization that does purchase its software no matter what the cost is… especially if they need it.

      Thanks again

      • #2719680

        So what r u gonna do?

        by pr0x1 ·

        In reply to thanks for the imput

        Now that you’re not there, what r u gonna do?

        Please tell me you aren’t just going to look the other way, you’re still legally tied to that organization if they are caught. So don’t think this is over just yet cause you didn’t CYA.

        You should still, at least, CYA and send a note telling them of their issue, and even describing how to resolve it. This would at least absolve you from legal action if they are caught.

        So tell me, who did you work for again?

        • #2700244

          can’t post the name

          by justmakingit ·

          In reply to So what r u gonna do?

          Can’t post the name but I have gone through the hoops to try to get them to switch there software, using some of the suuggestions posted. I compiled a list of open source software that they could use instead i.e. open-office, linux etc. And have told them the issue at hand. I am starting my Masters so I don’t need this hanging over my head. I told them that they have to comply and explained the risks. I do think they see the problem and were not really aware of the consequences. I do believe they have come around.

        • #2700023

          Thats a bridge you don’t want to burn

          by jimhm ·

          In reply to can’t post the name

          That’s a bridge you don’t want to burn – you will run into them again somewhere in your career – and the last thing you want to see as the hiring manager on an interview is your X-I-got-him-fired Director…

          You are gone – let sleeping dogs lie…

        • #2699968

          A Bit sneaky don’t you think?

          by anidouglas ·

          In reply to So what r u gonna do?

          I believe justmakingit asked for a solution from his peers, he did not ask for a potential court case and the attendant hassles.
          Asking him for whom he worked is an attempt to either get him into hassle or make some money for yourself.

      • #2719648

        Rat them out!

        by markdmac ·

        In reply to thanks for the imput

        Software piracy is costing the industry BILLIONS of dollars and causes consumer pricing to go up. Do the right thing and contact the Software & Information Industry Association’s Anti Piracy Division at

        If you want to be nice, you could contact your old boss and let them know when the next amnesty is first, but is sounds like they don’t even WANT to be legal.

        • #2700019

          Don’t let them BS you about that

          by jimhm ·

          In reply to Rat them out!

          Don’t let the SPA bs you about what the industry is losing … MS – Multibillion dollar corporation – charging $500 plus for office Suite – but if your education you pay $125 – so where is the justification of the pricing…

          Then you toss on yearly maintenance – and thats all you get for your millions is a small upgrade..

          Don’t let them BS – vendor ask for people to copy same with music and movies when charging so much – profits so high … Movie XYZ turn one weekend $125 million – it only cost $45 million to make it.. Come on – how much greedy money do these fat cats want…

        • #2700546

          have to agree with you

          by justmakingit ·

          In reply to Don’t let them BS you about that

          If the software, music, movie etx industries didn’t charge so much for their product, there wouldn’t be as much piracy going on. Where I live, for 2 people to see a movie it costs $30. That is terrible, maybe that is cheap compared to other regions, but point being, it is terrible. And as software is concerned, it is almost $300 to buy XP pro and it has been out for what 2-3 years now.

        • #2700495

          Jim They want all they can get

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Don’t let them BS you about that

          And then some after all isn’t that the way of the world?

          MS has it down pat I recently wanted to setup a very small business with a “Volume License” for an all MS Office and I was greeted with having to buy the OEM product then paying for a Volume License as well as Software Assurance.

          Now Leaving out the SA MS still wanted to be paid twice for the same product just so I could “Bulk Load” the software which was anything but in my customers best interests.


        • #2712799

          You accepted

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to Don’t let them BS you about that

          I am getting annoyed about all the bleeding hearts whinging about how much money MS and others make. Let’s be honest, they aren’t forcing you to buy / use their product, however, if you do you legally agree to their terms and conditions as soon as you open the package. (read their licencing terms).
          The beef that $2-300 for a rather complex software package is an exhorbitant rip off obviously comes from someone who hasn’t been around very long, as software used to cost in six or more figures, some 25 years ago, and there are still specialist packages out there that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

          Trying to justify piracy by the logic of “I’ve bought it once” doesn’t hold up much either, if you consider that a word processor on, say, 4 computers allows the useres to prepare their own reports etc, in a professional manner, compared to the good (bad?) old days where you had a typist type from hand written notes, the typos had to be checked and re-typed to remove errors. The saving in time and not needing to employ a typist, annually saves far more than the cost of three extra copies of the software.

        • #3297301


          by brian hynes ·

          In reply to Don’t let them BS you about that

          So if I understand your thinking what you are suggestion is because the cost is high, you have the right to Pirate….. This is ludicrous thinking, software is a commodity and as such market will determine ultimate pricing. In the intern I suggest that you rethink your morality of stealing.

      • #2719569

        Leaving makes you even more of a target

        by dnsb ·

        In reply to thanks for the imput

        For what it’s worth, if you have any copies of letters, emails, whatever that you sent to your previous boss, hang on to them. They might be all that saves you when the sh*t hits the fan. One of my co-workers was in your situation a couple of years back. After she moved to another job, she found herself being “credited” for obtaining the pirated software. All that saved her butt was the copies she saved of her correspondence with her supervisor and others about the use of pirated software. So make sure your ass is covered.

        • #2700240

          not really true

          by justmakingit ·

          In reply to Leaving makes you even more of a target

          The reson I left was becuase I was doing an internship with the organization, it was limited to 4 months and that was it. So, the reason I left was due to the fact that I had to leave, not necessarily because I wanted to (although I did want to because of the situation)

    • #2719697

      Caught between a rock and a hard place!

      by tmoneil ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I exprienced the same situation and it is a no-win situtation. The pirated software is indeed illegal. And with upper management turning a blind eye to the behavior, it puts you in a horrible situtation. I doubt the whistleblower laws would protect your job if you protest too much and get fired. I have worked for some real arrogant managers who will likely claim they did not know and should have been told (by you)- the typical defense these days. Good luck!

    • #2719695

      The Bigger Issue

      by mollenhourb9 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The bigger issue is do you want to work for such a company. If they are willing to break the law on an issue such as software piracy, where else are they breaking the law.

      I worked for such a company once as an accountant (I know, that’s a dirty word to IT professoinals), and felt a huge sense of relief when I left. A couple of months later their “questionable practices” in other areas came out in the paper.

      The long and short of it is, GET OUT NOW! You don’t want to be there when it all hits the fan, and it WILL hit the fan.

      • #2719685

        My task also includes educating Computers (in the broad sense)

        by ablitz ·

        In reply to The Bigger Issue

        Sorry to disagree. As a Pc support guy, I met many small organizations where the present managment was not the original who (did not) purchase the software.
        So I always pointed out to the present managment what the dangers are and what actions to take in order to fix it.

    • #2719688

      I didn’t report our software…she did….

      by swinnicki ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I never cared much about the ethics of such a situation…I knew about our company having unlicened software being used at work and wasn’t in a position of responsibility where I thought it would affect me….till one day another female coworked asked me why her software had no registration number…I told her that it was unlicenced and everybody was using and it was no big deal…The same day, heck the next minute really, she ran to the managers of IT telling them about this…..She gets promoted and 6 hardworking guys including myself were fired for having the knowledge of this and not reporting it. Turns out the software WAS on the 2 of the IT managers PC’s also….but did they get fired?
      You bet not…they claimed they didn’t know it was unlicenced…so much for Honesty in the work place! Bottom Line is either be the whistle blower or just claim you don’t know a thing, but the thing you should never do is admit to your co-workers you have knowledge of such a situation and then do nothing about it.

    • #2719681

      Protect Yourself …

      by rlogie ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If I were in your position, I’d protect myself. And here’s how:

      Do a Software Inventory Report advising Management of the situation in clear but non-inflammatory language. “A survey of the installed software shows X and to rationalize the situation will cost Y. This is forward for you action.”

      Then any inaction will be their responsibility! You clearly don?t have decision-making powers on purchases, so the level that does should be responsible if any situation comes up!

      Best of luck!

    • #2719675

      Are you still with the company?

      by broadacres ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      You state that you ‘HAD UNTIL RECENTLY’ an IT position. This suggests you are no longer with the company. Your course of action seems clear. Blow the whistle. If you do not and the illegal software is discovered, as it probably will be, then the investigators may well trace you and come down hard. As an aside, totally unrelated to the issue at hand, I am surprised at the poor grammar, syntax and spelling throughout this thread. How some of the correspondents ever got their jobs amazes me.

      • #2719614

        It’s simple

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Are you still with the company?

        Competency with the English language is not in the job description; we don’t gotta no nowns & verbes, we gotta no bits & bites!

        What I find truly horrendous is the alleged “IT” person who can’t spell “byte.”

      • #2719528

        Y R U So Upset?

        by ·

        In reply to Are you still with the company?

        Having been in IT development for many years, I look back at the documentation (if any) provided by developers. Sad to say, more than 90% of it was atrocious with maybe 40% being marginally readable. It seems that IT development attracts people with low English language skills, although it has been improving gradually over the years.

        • #2720365

          while x = 1 do;

          by bdonahue ·

          In reply to Y R U So Upset?

          Well when you only need to spell “for” “while” “do” and a whole bunch of puncuation is what you think and speak for 12 hours a day… what do you expect;


        • #2720362

          also off topic…

          by mryan ·

          In reply to while x = 1 do;

          About 15 years ago I worked for an IT department that was headed by a very talented assembly programmer. She, however, had great difficulty with PASCAL because she would always get an error when she tried to compile her “if x>3 than” statements.

      • #2720213

        That’s easy

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Are you still with the company?

        “As an aside, totally unrelated to the issue at hand, I am surprised at the poor grammar, syntax and spelling throughout this thread. How some of the correspondents ever got their jobs amazes me.”

        We all work far too much with computers you can not honestly expect us to be able to spell as well can you?

        After all even Microsoft calls us “Certified Partners!” Now that in itself should be a dead give away.


    • #2719674

      Role of an IT Professional

      by win0 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Professional responsibility dictates that you need to Document and “formally” notify Management that the Company is in breech of Licensing Laws and could be subject to prosecution and hefty fines if audited. Place the responsibility for ensuring compliance where it belongs ! Don’t turn it into a personal crusade, just give-em the facts, cover yourself, and only install licensed software !

    • #2719668

      consider open source

      by alberto.guerra ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      One possible alternative could consider open source software.
      It is well known that this may be a good solution and that you and the company would be doing things according to law.

      Think about

      • #2719554

        Ummm, Right…

        by teligence ·

        In reply to consider open source

        Using Open Source apps brings in a whole ‘nuther problem – support. More support cost money. That money is probably better spent on purchasing the “proper” product that has vendor and industry-wide support and documentation. Take for instance “OpenOffice” – I found a functional bug and it wasn’t even acknowledged by the developers until MONTHS later. Since my discovery, I noted that others also found the same problem. It was almost a year before a “patch” came out that corrected it. Is this the type of support that you want to bet your business on???

        Some businesses may be able to afford this “flexibility”, but I would wager that most cannot.

        • #2720417

          Uh, yeah, as a matter of fact….

          by ·

          In reply to Ummm, Right…

          And Microsoft has never done the same thing, I suppose, yes? If MS has something you need, and its schedule slips by a year, I assume you are okay with that, right?

          The beauty of open source is that if you find a problem such as you are describing, you can fix it yourself. You have the source code. Or if that is too expensive, you can live with it. Or you can switch: you are not locked in by a vendor that wants the upgrade fees.

        • #2720348

          Right on the nose !!!!!!!!!

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to Uh, yeah, as a matter of fact….

          You do understand of course that some people are from the shallow end of the gene pool and are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Don’t unnecessarily confuse them. For some it’s a miracle if they can find the on button; for others it’s the button marked “any”. Don’t laugh, it happens and more often than I care to think about.

        • #2700202


          by hardcoredisciple ·

          In reply to Ummm, Right…

          Is this a troll, the author can’t seriously believe that support is an issue to a company without any licensed software, “hello, microsoft, I need some help, windows update says I have an invalid cd-key” Open source software is absolutely the answer for a company who doesn’t want refuses to pay licensing fees, I think that the first step in this situation is to install Open Source solutions until the budget is in place for purchasing legitimate commercial software, thus addressing the issue and creating dialogue. If the person in question can’t afford to open themselves up to being fired for bypassing management’s illegal decision they certainly can’t afford the legal liability that comes along with installing and supporting illegal software.

        • #3294621

          Open source is growing

          by glyall ·

          In reply to hello?

          Using open source programs cost Microsoft in many ways. There are a lot of programs out there that you do not need a windows program.
          programs are trying to make a name for themselves and gain exprience. So if you look hard you can find an OS or applications that are as good and sometimes better then the Windows apps. If you pay a small amount to the open source programers they might fix the problem faster than commerical programs. Commerical programs are written for one to three updates.

    • #2719667

      Approach that I have had success with…

      by rtg05 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      After attempting for a couple of years to bully or push the organization into compliancy, we tried a new approach that worked successfully.

      Yes, I included all of the $$$ numbers as well as the possible prison terms for each infraction. THEN I presented the information from the perspective of ‘this is only to protect the organization’.

      Basically, by using this approach the responsibility was placed into Managements hands without feeling that they were being bullied into compliancy.

      It is just human nature – if you feel that the decision is yours and you are informed and know that you have to make the correct decision, most will choose the high road. 😉

    • #2719666

      I couldn’t do any business in this town….

      by graeme ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      ….if I turned in every business using pirated software.

      Scenario 1 – 3-5 year old workstation – Most of the computers came with an operating system (and are legal) but just one productivity suite disk and anti-virus disk was bought and used all around. We just have to look the other way. We will not actively re-use a disk in a new machine – but when updates are required we insist on legal software going in place.

      Scenario 2 – New – Machines getting replaced or updated. We will only sell machines with with legal OS, Productivity suite and anti-virus installed and start a software catalog and audit procedure for the company. Of course product activation makes this a lot easier to enforce! Most business owners smile and say – “about time they did that” (meaning the software vendor).

      Nearly all custome written applications seem to be legal with good licensing enforcement from the original vendor.

      Our approach may not be strictly legal and have many shades of gray – but in three to four years we should have everyone on track!

    • #2719662

      Formal notice

      by realgem ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If you do nothing, then you are a party to the crime. As the senior IT person, you will be accountable.

      You don’t have to whistle-blow to the vendors, but you should AT MINIMUM apprise your superior in writing of the situation in writing and that you are, as per his instructions, doing nothing about it.

      Your boss won’t like seeing this, because he will know what you’re doing: shifting accountability to him. But, it looks like it’s down to either him or you.

    • #2719661

      No software pirating allowed in workplace

      by rmennet ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      There really should be no need for software piracy. Many businesses buy site licenses which allow them to install as many as they need. Software that doesn’t fall into this category needs to be purchased. As an IT person I don’t allow this and make people buy the licensing. What they do at home I don’t want to know, but when they are at work they all need to be legal. In the scenario mentioned, there is probably not much you can do about it. If you become a whistle blower you’ll probably lose your job even though you are doing the right thing. I would make sure that they know that their policy is wrong and that you will not support it within your frame of reference.

    • #2719656

      This Should Be A No-Brainer

      by logos-systems ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Have we not learned anything from corporate scandles such as Enron, etc. When are we going to learn, both personally as well as coporately that it is never right to do that which is wrong. Would you keep quite if someone stole from a family matter?

      But I can tell you this, until we start taking personal responsibility for doing the right thing; not because it is easy, but becasue it is right, we will keep on reaping the effects of corporate scandles, and WE ARE PARTIALLY TO BLAME>

    • #2719654

      Notify businesses of piracy infractions

      by bettycarden ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The only way we are going to enforce software piracy is if all IT professionals make a stand. People worked hard to earn their money in developing the software and should receive their just due. Any “business” who pirates software is not a worthy business to exist in America.

      • #2719651


        by comptech3 ·

        In reply to Notify businesses of piracy infractions

        Evil does flourish where good men fail to act.

      • #2719644

        Do the right thing

        by isapp ·

        In reply to Notify businesses of piracy infractions

        When I started working in the IT department at my company, everyone here was using pirated software. The new network administrator put an immediate stop to the practice. He had to stand toe to toe with management, and there were some shouting matches but in the end the company is now so legal that we even keep a few extra licenses on hand “just in case.” We’ve been audited twice and sailed through the audits both times.

        On the other hand, a local company was just fined $80,000 for pirated software. You never hear about these things on the news but it happens more often than you’d think.

        IT managers can be held personally liable for pirated software. The sentence if the manager is found guilty includes hefty fines and jail time.

        My advice would be to do the right thing, or get out now before the company is audited. You know whose head will roll if fines start getting handed out.

    • #2719633

      Nice quote, but…

      by armourbl ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      You know, that quote about evil flourishing when good men fail to act sure sounds great, but when it affects you directly it is entirely different.

      We don’t have all the details. How long did you work there? Why did you leave, and on what terms? Etc.

      If he blows the whistle, he may be risking more than saying nothing and moving on. It doesn’t make things right, but should he risk his career and well being just for justice? If he gets his certs pulled, and can’t find work, who wins?

      Tough spot to be in. I wish you all the luck on this one.

      I don’t want to switch topics here, but this brings up an interesting question. How do you all manage your licensing? How do you prefer to keep records to provide proof during an audit?

      Where I work, we maintain an audit of the workstations and servers, and keep purchasing documentation and license certificates, but with a large organization, something is bound to fall throught the cracks. It is as easy as one tech installing some software, thinking there were licenses to cover it, and forgets to document the installation or whatever.

      As critical as it is, there has to be a more effective way of staying in compliance from day to day.


      • #2719617

        You Have a Point…

        by comptech3 ·

        In reply to Nice quote, but…

        Granted that there are times where it is not easy to do the right thing, but it still does not change the observation about letting evil flourish.

        • #2719606

          Evil is…

          by gawiman ·

          In reply to You Have a Point…

          You know those little greeting cards with the naked children that say something like “Love is…” and inside it says, “…when he gives you flowers on your birthday” or something like that?

          Guess we need cards like that for evil. Ripping off a multi-billion dollar corporation is risky, illegal, and maybe stupid. Diverting oil-for-food funds to build palaces is evil. Stealing granny’s pension with phony home repairs is evil. Blowing up buildings is evil.

          Basically evil is distinguished by attack on those who cannot defend themselves.

          Justmakingit got out – a good move. The next good move is to move on and forget about it. You don’t work for that company anymore. If you want to join a crusade, how about fighting software patents? They’ll be used to attack small developers which will result in stifling innovation.

      • #2719601

        managing licenses

        by dr dij ·

        In reply to Nice quote, but…

        I don’t work for them but (software reseller) has nifty web based license manager; ferrets out all pcs anywhere in world, can re-allocate licenses; legal for audit, web based reporting, can be set to automatically buy licenses.

        • #2719593

          Ah yes…

          by armourbl ·

          In reply to managing licenses

          I’ve seen that feature on ASAP’s site. Looks good, but the problem I see is if you invest so much time in their system, and their system either goes away or stops working, you are really stuck in a hard place.

          What I’d like to see is something similar to what Adobe has started doing. They manage your licensing when you buy their products. You can go to them and ask for a list of all your licensed products. I still keep my own records, but it is nice to know they may defend you if you have hard time providing proof on your own.


      • #2719534

        Manage Licenses

        by 3500+ windows users ·

        In reply to Nice quote, but…

        For us, right now, it’s just folders with paid POs verses what LanDesk tells me is out there. It?s been slow getting some form of automation put in place.

      • #2700232

        Reply To: software pirates in the workplace

        by justmakingit ·

        In reply to Nice quote, but…

        It was a 4 month internship. The reason I left was because it was strictly a learning process for the school I attended (co-op preogram). I guess I am now learning more than I though I would.

    • #2719632

      Armchair Lawyers

      by hmtattrie ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I love the way that every response that I have read either starts or ends with “I’m not a lawyer – but. . . ” and then proceeds to explain to justmakingit why his deeds are illegal and how to “legally” protect himself.

      Fact of the matter is this; anyone in this country can be sued at any time by anyone for anything and those with the deepest pockets and most talented (read most expensive) lawyers will win.

      Which brings me to my next point.

      The deepest pockets and most expensive lawyers belong to Microsoft. At what point in history did it become my responsibility to protect the intelectual property of the largest software company in the world? I find XP’s activation scheme to be a blatant intrusion into my life, but it is Misrosoft’s first real attempt to protect their own IP, rather than relying on whining psuedo lawyer wanna-be’s or corporate whistle blowers. So, there’s only one decision that one has to make – put up with this intrusion and use Microsoft products, or move on to some other OS. Either way, the responsibility for making sure that Microsoft’s bottom line stays healthy is not up to little ol’ me.

      • #2719615

        It became your responsibility…

        by mlayton ·

        In reply to Armchair Lawyers

        …if you hold any Microsoft certifications, as the agreement in part reads “(iii) you engage in misappropriation or unauthorized disclosure of any trade secret or confidential information of Microsoft (including, but not limited to, any MCP Exam materials or other Microsoft materials with respect to which you are under non-disclosure obligation), or pirate any Microsoft product, or otherwise infringe any other intellectual property right of Microsoft, or engage in any other activities prohibited by law;” – I think there is also a section on ethics… or hold a CISSP cert, which has a whole section on ethical behavior… or are a member of a professional organization which has a strict code of ethics including reporting, or at the very leastt not supporting, pirated software.

        • #2719609

          We don’t need no stinkin’ certifications!

          by hmtattrie ·

          In reply to It became your responsibility…

          Which just goes to show what a self serving, self important bunch of crap that certifications are in the first place!

          What ever does software piracy have to do with my talents as an IT pro? Does stealing a copy of Acrobat negate the fact that I know how to set up a DNS server correctly? Does having a bootleg copy of PowerPoint mean that I have somehow forgotten how to set up a WINS server?

          No. It simply means that Microsoft is pissed off at me and are going to take their ball back away from me after I have jumped through almost all of the hoops that they asked me to in order to become certified. Which is why I have not bothered with all of this certification nonsense in the first place (well, at least not since Novell’s third or fourth round of ever-changing CNE exams). I learned my lesson. Money spent on certifications is a waste – especially when it is used to effect behaviour outside of the realm of what you know. What’s next? We dont like the content of your site, so we’re going to pull your certification. Forget it folks – spend your money on something useful (like a legitimate copy of Server 2003).

        • #2719561

          Is this the man who told you to keep it quiet by any chance?

          by dosmastr ·

          In reply to We don’t need no stinkin’ certifications!

          true certs are nothing but paper, but so is money.

          if someone steals from you, you have more then a couple options, among them: call a lawyer, or call some friends to help u beat their face in, which one is more satisfying, which one easier to live down the aftermath? who knows, but theft is wrong ethically and legally, and they choose to prosecute and damage those who steal from them any way that they can. If MS got paid for all its pirated software would they lower prices, i don;t know, would they get less piracy if they did lower prices, again i don’t know. but thats not for us to descide or control. the law says what the law says, and unless you want to be on the next episode of COPS, the law must be followed whether it protects some much hated companys bottom line or not

        • #2719525

          would they lower prices…

          by 3500+ windows users ·

          In reply to Is this the man who told you to keep it quiet by any chance?

          Out here in CA, MS had to pay 1.6 billion for so-called overpricing of desktop software. Of course 600 Million of that went to the lawyer?s fees, but the law is there, somewhat diluted, but it?s there.

        • #2720452

          Did I say anything about being pro-piracy?

          by hmtattrie ·

          In reply to Is this the man who told you to keep it quiet by any chance?

          It seems that that’s what you got out of my response. Never did I say that stealing is OK or software piracy is either – for that matter. What I said was that it’s not my responsibility to police every person or company I come into contact with on behalf of Microsoft (or any other software publisher for that matter – big or small).

          Stealing is wrong – ethically and morally. Thats why the police, the BSA and all of the other loss control type organizations exist. They should go out and do their jobs – by all means. In fact – part of what I said was that finally, Microsoft was taking responsibility for maintaining their own IP rights (without relying on me to “turn in” my boss or neighbor or whoever).

          I will not spend my time looking out for Microsoft’s intelectual property rights any more than they spend their time and efforts looking out for mine (not that they even know that I exist!). Do you suppose they would go out of their way to tell me about a company that they found was illegally using my software? Wouldn’t happen.

          Having said that – I’m still not a proponent of stealing or piracy.

          I’m just not a policeman either. . . .

        • #2720415

          Honest Truth

          by joshua tuman ·

          In reply to Did I say anything about being pro-piracy?

          Tattrie until i read your last post, i almost thought you’d have a basement full of pirated software. But thats the truth, you create software and start selling coppies of it, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that even the software giant would have pirated coppies of it. And they wouldn’t go out of there way to tell you if anyone else is using it illeagly

        • #3294634

          It’s called a CODE OF ETHICS

          by pghammer21 ·

          In reply to We don’t need no stinkin’ certifications!

          All professional organizations (including, oddly enough, the American Bar Association) have a Code Of Ethics which spells out (often in excruciatingly painful detail) a number of *prohibited practices*. But one thing they all make clear is that you DO NOT VIOLATE THE LAW.
          Software piracy is not just unethical, but *it is illegal*. Period. Full stop.

          A lawyer (or worse, his law firm) that has unlicensed software is not just going to make the rounds of the late night talk shows, but will face massive fines and could find the managing partners disbarred. And being disbarred is *absolute Hades* for a practicing lawyer. (Yes, it’s happened. In Washington, DC, in fact.).

          If you inspire to become an IT professional (and practically anybody that wants to succeed in IT wants those credentials). Then that Code Of Ethics WILL be staring you in the face.

          Either live with the responsibility, or bail.

      • #3294641

        If You Agree to the License Terms…

        by pghammer21 ·

        In reply to Armchair Lawyers

        If you agree to the Terms of License (the End User Licensing Agreement for individual software items, or the separate, though similar, licensing agreements for corporate and VLK licensing) then you are stuck. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Microsoft or anyone else.

        If you don’t like the terms, *don’t install the software*.

        I use Microsoft products (from operating systems to applications) because they are the best at meeting my needs. When some other company makes a product that meets those needs better, I will use it.

        And as far as Windows activation, here I have to say *hooray for MS*. Let’s be honest: Windows has been THE most pirated operating SYSTEM (I am utterly discounting any version of Windows prior to 9x) on Earth. While WPA doesn’t get *all* the pirated copies out there (WPA has been cracked for over a year now), it does reduce *casual piracy*, and it makes *bulk loading* (the oldest and easiest form of software piracy) a lot more difficult. Killing (or making harder) just these two forms of piracy alone reduces the bite all customers face in the form of higher software prices.

        While it is *not* your responsibility to make sure the developers’ pockets stay fat, it *is* your responsibility to make sure YOUR pockets stay fat (and the rest of you stays out of jail).

        Stick to the terms of your licenses (whether you are just you or a business) and you do both. Do one (and not the other) or do neither, and it is *your* problem.

    • #2719630

      Is no one reading the first message???

      by prplshroud ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The gent no longer works for the firm in question.

      Firstly, I agree completely with everyone who has stated that you should “Cover Your Ass”. That should be your first priority. However, don’t just email your old boss. Send your old boss, yourself, and maybe a higher up a certified letter. Never open the one that you send to yourself. If it ever comes to some kind of legal issues, you have the unopened certified letter that is admissible and can help you.

      Secondly, if you are just really pissed at your former employer and want to stick it to them. Think about how you left the firm. Was it a bad parting of the ways (i.e. Did they fire you), a layoff, or did you leave on your own?

      Maybe just you playing a little CYA will cause them to realize they should be in compliance. Maybe not. If you still know someone that works there they might be able to keep you informed.

      If you do decide to be the whistle blower, consider how many people will possibly be unemployed because of your actions. The firm may be forced to have a layoff because they’re paying fines and can’t pay people.

      Either way, what your company is doing is wrong, and they should be brought into compliance either by hook or by crook.

      As long as you can show best effort on your part to attempt software license compliance, I think you’ll be ok.

      I’m a fellow IT guy and not a lawyer, so I’m only giving you my opinion just like everyone else.

      • #2719613

        Unethical Employers

        by jthomson60016 ·

        In reply to Is no one reading the first message???

        justmakingit had already left the offending company, as noted, when he wrote his question to us all. The first thing to note is that he went to management (at least to SOME level of management) with the problem and was told to ignore it.

        That should have served as clear notice that the company is unethical in its’ behavior. You have to wonder in what other areas they act the same way, and how long until they begin to treat the employee unethically. Personally, I would take that as a sign to leave at once, before the company starts to screw me.

        On the way out, I would take the actions mentioned in all of the CYA responses, up to and including the certified letters. I would also make sure that my complaints were heard at the highest levels of management, addressing copies to the President, the CEO or the Chairman of the Board, if there is a board. You don’t know how high up the ladder the rot extends, and going to the top will ensure you either tell the head guy or bypass the rotten ones.

        When you write your letters, name names, give dates and places, include info from the BSA about the legal consequences, and document the business case for getting legal in precise $ terms.

        When you first try to rectify the situation and run into a low level manager telling you to ignore things, get your stuff together, then go progressively up the ladder to his boss. If no joy, go to the next rung, and keep going until you hit the top. If even the ultimate boss shoots you down, then you’ve done your best and it is time to CYA and get out of Dodge.

        Whether you choose to report your former employer and possibly collect a reward for turnign them in is up to you, but do it from the safety of a new job!

    • #2719616

      A Different Approach to Software Piracy

      by clive_w ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Before I retired I worked for a very large international IT company.
      Their approach, which I believe was the correct one, was to dismiss anyone found using unlicensed software.
      Even internal use of their own products had to be licenced. This seemed strange when I first heard about it but it gave accounting credit to the department that designed it.

      • #2719557

        Reply To: software pirates in the workplace

        by dosmastr ·

        In reply to A Different Approach to Software Piracy

        that would be ironic, to hear how apple or MS were using one licence for all thier buildings lol

        but yea, send a letter with a plan to fix it to the upper mgmnt and the guy they hired to take your place. that will diminish the whole “this person left the scene of the crime before police arrived” aura which might get kicked up by the theives u used to work for

    • #2719600

      Good Faith effort

      by gvnmtwrkr ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      From all the replies I have seen here most are right on. If you have checked the licenses of said software and they are not multi-user but are being used as such that is a problem. There have been several suggestions that you document correspondence (make sure it is date stamped by the server) and set up a plan for compliance complete with budget and a time to complete plan. By doing this, even if it is not approved, you will have made what legaly is called a ‘good faith effort’ to resolve this situation. Keep the documentation somewhere safe and preferably off-site. Copyright infringement is a serious matter even on expired or previous copies of software. The legal expiration used to be seven years but for certain circumstances four years is an official end of legal remedy. So if you were using Office 97 you would be legally clear but ethically guilty and your Users would probably be complaining full time about the poor response and inablility to read more current documents anyway.
      Keep to your course and don’t blink!
      From a programmer and creator of software solutions who has been there.

    • #2719599

      Conspiring to commit CYA

      by mitchellson ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If a company is in the proccess of using pirated software and you don’t do anything, inaction can make you legally involved, but with the wistleblower protection act, you can get the protection you need and even have legal recourse with the company for loss of job, wages, mental duress ect but document, document,document, and write a clear and nonthreatening letter as one post suggested to cya, that”s cover your ass!!

    • #2719589

      SPA / SIIA – End of Discussion

      by driv ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      There is an organization dedicated to answering this and helping YOU. Suggest everyone check it. Reasons why, who to contact, what YOU should do.
      Report software piracy here by using one of our online reporting forms below. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $50,000.
      What should I do if become aware of a company that does not comply with the copyright law or its software licenses?
      Cases of software piracy, or noncompliance with software licenses, can be reported on the Internet at or by calling the Anti-Piracy Hotline: (800) 388-7478.

    • #2719585

      If they act this way…

      by 3500+ windows users ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      to software manufactures that supply the tools of their business. How are they going to treat their employees?

    • #2719573

      Policy is important

      by lelandhoover ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      A core element of company software licensing compliance is having the top management team adopt a no tolerance policy for illegal software. Present the problem and the solution. It is the responsibility of IT to recommend to top management a sound licensing policy, the business reasons for compliance, document the liability, the cost to comply and a timeline. Borrow heavily from the website for your material and present a dispassionate factual account of the situation. Position yourself as helping the company avoid a real catastrophe that non-technical management might not fully appreciate as this is not their field of expertise (i.e. give your immediate boss an out or you will create an enemy and may lose your job). Copy senior management, but be prepared for a nasty reaction from your boss as you make him look incompetent (blown budget) and unethical. If your entire management team has weak ethics on piracy, it is probably symptomatic of a larger disease and I would consider looking for a more ethical employer. Good luck!
      – Leland, CIO

    • #2719567

      Cost of integrity

      by rmartin ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The big question comes down to a personal value question. What price do you put upon your own integrity? The law states that seeing a crime and not reporting it makes you an accessory before and after the fact. I have had the experience of pirated software in the workplace and left that company because I would not compromise my own integrity. The last time it happened I did an internal audit and then made a chart showing what we had and what we had licenses for. Then show what it would cost to bring the company into compliance verses what the monetary fines could be if caught. The company decided it was in their interest to become compliant.

      It comes down to a progression; What you tolerate, you will one day believe and what you believe, you will one day do.

      The company has already shown a lack of integrity by stealing in order to make a greater profit. What would make you think that they would be totally honest with you when they by action have commited theft?

      I would rather be know as a man of integrity than one who looks the other way.

    • #2719563

      I think you know the answer

      by blueknight ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I think you already know the answer to your question, but are really looking for concurrence rather than advice. Assuming you are an ethical person who has integrity, you need to report the offense to the SPA.

      If you want give the company a chance to make it right, notify the BIG boss since your director blew you off. Try getting time with him/her to discuss the problem and the ramifications for the company. Try to do a presentation like one of the other respondents suggested… that was excellent.

      While you’re at it, document everything you know about the software: which software, when it was acquired/installed etc. If the company doesn’t quickly get with the program and purchase and install licenced software to replace all the illegal copies, the you must report it.

      If it comes down to a raid, computer forensics can determine when the software was installed. It won’t matter whether you weren’t working there then or not. That really should make no difference since you would be the reporting party.

      If it comes down to your getting “the axe” because you reported this to the authorities, then you have them over a barrel. Installing licensed copies of software is the least expensive option your company has. The law protects whistle blowers, plus the SPA may reward you for your actions.

      Now, go forth and do what’s right… and be proud of doing it.

    • #2719556

      How I resolved this issue…

      by techniquephreak ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I tried all the arguments. I lectured on the stats from the BSA, I showed them how they could qualify for charitable non-profit rates, I informed them that I could not work on any machines that I knew were running illegale software, I write and implemented software licensing policies that were adopted by HR and woven into the employee handbook, I reminded them that they were currently suing someone who was pirating one of their training videos… None if it worked. I documented everything, covered my own ass, and after exhausting all other avenues – reported them to the BSA.

      The BSA was very helpful, immediately notifying the company that they would need to come into compliance within three months or face an audit. Once the company realized it was not invincible, we worked out a plan to get everything properly licensed. That was several years ago, and our professional relationship is stronger than ever. The charitable non-profit licensing helps. Because they are a 501(3)c, I was able to get their licensing costs down from about $70K to about $8K.

      I felt like crap turning them in, worried about losing my job, et cetera. But that’s what whistle-blower protection is for.

    • #2719542

      This is a moral issue and a potential Legal issue.

      by klaken ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If the Director does not support legalizing the software, then you either do nothing and support him/her in which case you endorse the Director’s stand. (At that point you are now on an equal footing with the directors position)

      If you do not support the Directors stand, then get out of there as fast as you can. It is best for your career to not use this issue for leaving, because of the negative shadow this will cast on you and your new employers willingness to trust you. (It never sells well when someone says that they left because of another persons ethics as there is always a doubt that you were really to blame, or that you are just a negative person.)

      Do not report the violations to either the government or the companies themselves. If either decides to press the case by going to court, you will be financially ruined as you will have to miss too much work to be employable, and you will never be hired by another firm.
      Remember, companies serve their best interests – not yours, and governments never serve their citizens, they only serve to exist, and if you enhabce their ability to enforce, then you will be a victim for life.

      Finally, if you really like the organization that you belong to, then bring the issue to the board of directors. If it is a non-profit, they will act appropriately.

    • #2719532

      Engage an Attorney

      by ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Depending on the scope of the problem – i.e. What is the software liability worth? – your only protection is to engage an attorney. This will allow you proper counsel and document your resistance to participate in the illegal activity. Anything you try to do otherwise on your own is not going to protect you if problems arise.

      About a year and a half ago, I was faced with being responsible for implementation of HIPAA requirements (Federal legislation) and found that management and clients offered lip service to support, but specifically had no intential of implementing needed changes. (I also uncovered massive fraud in claims and government payments/billings.) I sent management and their attorneys written notices to no avail. After contacting my own attorney, he made it clear that I was still liable. I resigned my position as HIPAA Coordinator for more than one dozen health care organizations that refused to comply with required changes. A few months later, I left the company.

      Not long after that, someone else blew the whistle and of course the company thought it was me. Despite some worrisome contacts and veiled threats, my engagement of a personal attorney really made a difference.

    • #2719524

      Golden Rule

      by ububbaron ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I think we have gotten into trouble as a nation because morality and doing what is right has been replaced with “what can they prove”, “how big is the fine”, and “what if I get caught”, etc… Ask yourself one question…if you were writing software and it was someobody else at a company that was in your shoes and had this knowledge, what would you want them to do? It is that simple.

      For those who care little for morality, I would say: Bill Gates may have all the money he can ever spend and he may charge too much for his software, but we have a right to tell him what we think by not buying his software. Part of why he has the monopoly he does and there is so little competition is because instead of pursuing other options and learning to do without his software, people steal it, which just furthers the stranglehold. Stealing is an afront to everyone and we pay for it eventually, one way or another.

    • #2719517

      Sour Grapes

      by kpon ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      As a contractor I ran into my fair share of pirated software. I felt it was my responsibility to inform the responsible person(s) that they were out of compliance. Surprisingly, more than a few were simply ignorant of the law and were eager to correct the situation.
      Some will be moved to corrective action when the financial penalties are laid out.
      The most effective call to action was when a local rag ran the story of a raid at a popular company in the area. The paper ran what the association (BSA?) fed them but the story was incomplete. I called the company to find out how they were detected. It was a disgruntled employee. I carried the article around for show and tell and this was enough for a few of my fence straddlers.
      Using pirated software leaves a company vulnerable in several areas including their reputation & wallet. Playing to conscience is not very effective when the software company itself is so morally corrupt.
      I think payback should be left to karma. Snitching is not a lofty aspiration.

    • #2720398

      document your involvement

      by paulnovy ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Start building a paper trail showing your disapproval and suggestion to get proper software license. This will clearly show you brought it to the management of the company and should minmimize your responsibility.

    • #2720369

      When BSA comes calling….

      by g_geeslin ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      A previous employer of mine overinstalled some of the software they purchased. It cost them a pretty penny. Part of the problem, however, had to do with software upgrades. BSA wanted to see PAID RECEIPTS on the software we owned to show that we had legitimate copies and also to show that we had rights to purchase the upgrades we did on other software. Since some of the purchases had been made more than seven years earlier and via credit card, we no longer had that proof.

      In short, the license documents that came with the software were worthless. BSA was only interested in seeing paid receipts as proof that we were legit.

      KEEP ALL YOUR POs and RECEIPTS on software purchases FOREVER. That’s what BSA will want to see when they come a-knocking!


      • #2720346

        Protect yourself or you may end up paying for your boss’s decision…

        by etheric nomad ·

        In reply to When BSA comes calling….

        I don’t know the legal systems there in the US, but at least here, what I am doing is : speak out my concerns and keep every email and written docuements to prove this is not my decision. And usually there is no written document, so taping or recording the conversation between me and my boss is crucial.

        Or when the company gets busted, the boss may avoid all the responsibilities and let me take them all.

    • #2720355

      Software Piracy

      by jamietammy ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Legally you are not at risk for this violation, your company is the one at fault. However if you were to be audited by the BSA, infractions carry a $150,000 penalty for each one found. This would be enough to put most small companies out of business and you would be affected in that outcome.

    • #2720352

      I hope you documented everything but if not……

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Send a detailed e-mail to your former boss and/or bosses pointing out all the illegal software on their system and especially the fact that it was all there before you were hired. If you know of anything that was installed after your arrival mention it and name the person you suspect loaded it. You could refer them to the BSA and the SPA. Mention clearly that you are sending the e-mail so as to disassocate yourself from their illegal activity and you do not want to be dragged into anything in the event they are caught. Do not threaten them with action, Do not say you are or are not going to report them but do Bcc. every employee that you can remember. Print out 5 copies of the e-mail and put them in 5 envelopes which you will send to yourself via registered snail mail. Keep them somewhere safe, unopened. You will have documented beyond a reasonable doubt your innocense in the matter. In fact you could say in your e-mail this was one of the reasons for your departure since you felt that you were constantly looking over your shoulder and it had bothered you. Whether you decide to drop a dime on them is your business but I assume you may still have friends there and you might be dropping them in the guano that is sure to hit the proverial air movement device. After all, no one appointed you keeper of the public conscience and you have gone as far as you can to protect the innocent. This is sure to come out eventually and you don’t want or need the reputation of being identified as the whistle blower.

    • #2720338

      as IT professionals, we must lead the way

      by mandrake64 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      As an IT professional, you are ethically obliged to report the breaches to your supervisor or manager. If they do not want to know, then go as high as you need to in the organisation to get someone to inititate some action.
      You could also approach one of the anti-piracy groups to politely inform your management that they are in breach and offer an amnesty period for them to get their licensing up to date.

      • #2720266

        you must speak out

        by sylink ·

        In reply to as IT professionals, we must lead the way

        It is vital that u dont keep quiet. dont stop at mere oral presentation; get it documented and pass ur recommendationt to immediate boss. follow it up.

    • #2720314

      Reply To: software pirates in the workplace

      by clkoay ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I was in your shoes and have reported to BSA on my company that uses pirated softwares. However, BSA seems to be dragging their feet to investigate the report. I am disappointed with the turnover time and it has been 2 months since I have reported to them (BSA). BSA has not initiated any actions toward the company.

    • #2720281

      Dangerous situation

      by foringmar ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If You did not have lots of witnesses to Your confrontation with the director, he will, in case need arises, categorically deny the discussion ever occurred.
      If the BSA comes along, the director will almost certainly point his finger toward You.
      Cover Your back:
      – discuss again with the director, with lots of witnesses present. Witnesses should be people that can not be influenced by anyone involved. Not by Yo? and not by the director. Or better still, record the conversation secretly.
      If the director does not see the light after that, hit him with BSA, MS and everything else possible.
      You will loose Your job if You do this, and You will loose Your job also if BSA comes calling, so why let the director get off the hook.

    • #2720222

      Going on “record” means knowing what’s a “record”

      by rickbarry ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      With any ethical challenge, it’s a good idea to go on record with your boss and others, especially the organization’s attorney. They don’t like to be confronted with evidence of illegal behavior where they have legal responsibilities. They likely get the message to top management faster and more “persuasively” than anyone. Do this using a traditional paper memorandum rather than email/other electronic forms, because most organizations are also irresponsible, and in some cases breaking the law, because they do not treat electronic communications, no matter how informal, as organizational records even though they are. Most are in the dark ages and think:if it isn’t on paper it isn’t a record. Wrong. So make it on paper and be sure a copy gets into the organization’s recordkeeping system.

    • #2720216

      Your an IT pro not a software cop

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      As an IT pro your responsibility is to notify, in writing, your boss of the situation and the danger it creates. Once he writes back saying forget it, you take no further action re that software.

      However, do NOT load any more pirate software or reload any pirate software on to any machines. You can NOT be held responsible for any unlawful software on the machine when you start, but you can be held responsible for any that you load.

      Also once the boss says forget it I would start looking for other employment, as I doubt he will be around long as Microsoft are actively seeking corporate software pirates.

      • #2714665

        A lesson!

        by foringmar ·

        In reply to Your an IT pro not a software cop

        Q. Why is it that evil has such a strong position in the world?
        A. Becouse the good people are doing so little to prevent it.
        Edmund Burke
        British Politician in the 19. century.

        • #2714591


          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to A lesson!

          Sometimes the price for honesty isn’t worth paying.

          Col Luck 2004

    • #2700258

      software selling scams

      by oweneg ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The software sales on the above url seemed to good to be true. Someone checked out the site and told me it was a group in Moscow and to avoid the site like the plague.
      Someone else out there may wish to confirm?

      • #2700574


        by csmith ·

        In reply to software selling scams

        These guys are like OEMCD , CD Cheap, etc.
        Most of the piracy is still coming from sources in China, with help from others, of course.
        Obviously, most of this stuff is not legitimate.
        If you want legitimate software, use a legitimate source.
        Regards, Chris

      • #2700433

        Reply To: software pirates in the workplace

        by mtgeorge ·

        In reply to software selling scams

        run traceroute and see for yourself. they are in Russia. avoid them like a plague )o:o)

    • #2700241

      Compliance Police

      by mckuhaj ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      This is easy. No. You did the right thing to present the problem to the business and also you are no longer there. The big boys need to police it themselves and not put IT personel in the middle. Sleep good tonight; that Director will get his.

    • #2700228

      Reply To: software pirates in the workplace

      by me660 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I think I would just encourage my boss to regester his software and maybe say it needs to be updated and you cant update with out it being registered and then make notes as too your atempt to do this and maybe ask him to sign something stating that you tried, it may not compleatly cover your butt but it will show that you atempted to right it and just that goes a long way in making a statement as to the kind of person you are, best of luck!

    • #2700224

      never thought I would get this many replies

      by justmakingit ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      I didn’t think I would this many replies. I guess this is a touchy subject among IT professionals. It was the first time I ran into the situation and hopefully the last. The company I now work for is totally legitimate.

      Thanks for all of the responses, I appreciate all. And I think that everyone may have learned something from the discussion, I hope it continues. As mentioned in some of the postings, we as IT professionals have to join together to get rid of software piracy. But another question arises. What about those small companies who are trying to get their companies off of the ground. Software is so expensive today it could potentially cost an organization more to obtain legal software than the actual starting up of the company. Is there niothing out there to help these companies, some way for them to start off with cheaper version of big name software, or is open-source the answer to all of this??

      • #2709808

        People are expensive – Software is not

        by clive_w ·

        In reply to never thought I would get this many replies

        You have to pay staff every week/month but software is a often just a 0netime cost or for some software an annual licence.

        I have one client who told me this and gave me figures to illustrate that it is so.

    • #2700219


      by dercp94 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Personally, I think it would depend on the professional and personal values you have. If the values you hold lean more toward what’s right, then you may want to report it. But, there would be consequences if you do. Question is, can you deal with those consequences? If the risk associated with reporting the illegal software is acceptable and manageable to you, then you may want to report it.

    • #2700180

      Piracy-Result of lack of education

      by nataraj ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      It is rather very unfortunate that people are willing to pay large amounts for anything except a software. Most of the user community wants softwares free. They don’t think for a while that there are humans behind the creation of these softwares who have spent a lot of time and money to create the softwares. Perhaps because a software does not look like a computer or a car people think it is not worth the price quoted.

      As IT professional we owe to the software community our responsibility to educate the users and endeavour to stop the menace of piracy.

    • #2699930

      Cover your a…

      by firstaborean ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      First, you know that you’re involved with a company that is stealing software, and what that means morally, so I won’t belabor that issue.

      Second, I advise doing what I did once in a somewhat different situtation (involving customer safety) which had a similar endangerment to me as yours does to you. I was at the time a consultant to the company, not an employee, but the idea is as apt. I drafted a letter (in duplicate; one copy to me, the other for him) to the seniormost executive in which I asked his signature. The letter only stated that he acknowledged that I made my objection (and what the objection was) and specifically committed him to that acknowledgement and nothing else.

      When I presented it, he asked why I wanted this letter signed; I said that I wished to be covered in the event of a lawsuit, so that I would not share in any liability.

      By the way: He decided that, if I were that concerned, he would do something, and he ordered the problem fixed. I can’t assure you that you’ll get similar results, but, at least, you’ll have covered yourself.

      • #2699710

        Cover your a…

        by rickbarry ·

        In reply to Cover your a…

        Good idea. It may not absolve you from liability, but it might break the log jam successfully so that the practice is stopped. However, if the boss says, I’m going to fix that instead of sign this letter, that leaves you without proof of your warning, hoping s/he does it quickly and fully. Better leave your letter to the boss anyway and get it into the recordkeeping system…And then search for a new job.

    • #2700286

      Let them take the blame

      by aldanatech ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      If your organization ever gets caught you will most likely be held responsible and face a fine or even prison. I would suggest you make them sign a paper that would state that they are aware they have illegal software and they agree to face any consequence. If they don’t want to sign then tell them you will report their illegal software. They might make an ugly face on you or even put your job on the line, but this is risky business. It?s either your job or your liberty.

    • #2713340

      Changed my Life over it

      by computergirl46 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Thanks everyone who posted – you’ve helped me to change my life. I have been working as a level 3 tech for a small firm – they undercut the competition in pricing services and make it up by selling pirated software at full price (and over).

      I have not decided whether to turn them in to the BSA or not. I just found our recently that the software was not legal. They specialize in the home and small business markets so they might not get caught.

      I just decided the whole thing was low and I don’t want to be involved. I gave in my resignation last night and listed the reasons explicitly. (I guess I’m hoping that will be part of the CMA equation).

      I’m going to give a shot at doing it on my own with fully licensed software – less profit – but honest.

      I’d love to “out” them – since they are really trying to drive the competition out of business – I’m not sure how to do it – other than the BSA – I may have to talk to a lawyer and see where I stand.

      • #2713305

        Your best approach

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Changed my Life over it

        Might be an anonymous e-mail to MS Anti Piracy Hot Line from an Internet Caf? or someplace similar.

        But I for one would have nothing to do with anything that involved listing my name as the person who filled the complaint it just isn’t worth the risk to your further working relationship with anyone.


        • #2714526

          The really sad part is…

          by rknrlkid ·

          In reply to Your best approach

          that if you act ETHICALLY then you are “labelled” and black-listed.

          Personally, I think that the software industry manipulates the laws in their own favor. I disagree with the whole idea of “licensing” that puts the customer at a disadvantage. However, what I think is IRRELEVANT because current law states what it states. If I pirate software, its a crime, period! And yes, I can relate personally, because as a multiple copyright holder, if you are printing my books without permission and I am not getting my royalty, my publisher better prosecute!

          Its a sad day when you cannot expect enforcement of laws that are there to protect you because businesses/employees are so morally bankrupt that the honest person is the social deviant, not the criminal.

          We should start another thread (on a different board, of course) about the lack of ethics in American business.

        • #2714444

          Where things are wrong here

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to The really sad part is…

          Is that the Software industry expects workers to report piracy instead of themselves policing their own products.

          MS has made an attempt with the Product Activation on all their new non Volume License software but even then it’s a pain for the “Legal” users.

          I recently fitted 16 SCSI HDD’s to a computer and when I rang to reactivate all 18 MS products I was given the third degree and accused of stealing their Software all of which is licensed to me. Then the very next repair that I got in had a pirate copy of Windows XP Pro and Office XP Pro installed, the person responsible was making a killing and only making my job all that much harder. I of course refused to repair the computer and suggested that they contact MS Anti Piracy Hotline which I gave them the number for. As this is where the real problem is with someone making vast sums of money installing pirate software on repairs/upgrades that they perform and then not supplying the install disks or fully installing all the software. I suppose it makes people come back and pay more to get the thing to work but from my prospective it is grossly unfair to those who are only prepared to act legally.

          Now I use Volume License copies for all my personal machines at least that way I’m not required to reactivate the software every time I make a few changes to one of my systems.

          Norton has attempted the same thing with their 2004 products and there has been a massive resistance to their products “here at least” which I think only shows just how unsatisfied people are with the current Licensing of Software as all you are doing is buying the right to actually use the software and never actually own anything as the software vendor has the right to insist that you install the software and return the CD’s when they like. What other item that you purchase is like that?


    • #2707646

      Force Mgmnt to License Software ANONYMOUSLY

      by toureasy ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Here is my solution to informing management of its responsibility to have all licenses:
      1 – Go to your local library or Internet Cafe and create an anonymous email account (not on your PC).
      2 – Email and inform the top 5 managers in your company that you have recently discovered that there are xx number of pirated software in the company. State all re nasty BSA fines and repercussions as listed on the BSA sites. Give a link or two.
      3 – Tell them that you feel strongly about this matter – it’s immoral and piracy hurts our software industry.
      4 – Then inform them that they have a week to do something about this. Set a date. Remind them of the low cost of the software vs the HIGH cost of the fines. And the publicity.
      5 – Remind them that this letter is sent to (name the five names of VIPs or Board of Directors)
      6 – Remind them of how easy it was to send an anonymous letter and how easy it is to be a completerly anonymous BSA informant.

      7 – If nothing is done within two weeks report the software licensing violations anonymously to the BSA.

    • #3308717

      Real world

      by drupar ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Yes, you have a responsibility to report this, however in the real world you also have a responsibility to provide for yourself and your family, so if you want to keep your job, shut up and try to convince the powers that be of the error of their ways. Send them a link to the SBA website, then write a CYA memo to file documenting the situation. Either that or just resign. Turn them in, you’re dead meat.

    • #3294694

      Legally Speaking

      by steven.miller314 ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      As a retired attorney with over 33 years of law office management behind him, I offer this extremely generalized opinion: In the United States, upper management is usually responsible for installing and using unlicensed copyrighted software on any PC owned or leased by the organization, probably even where the responsible officer lacks actual, provable direct knowledge of the piracy.
      How low and how wide does “upper management” go? Probably as low as anyone involved with authorizing or actually making the unlicensed lease or purchase, including the IT director or IT vice president and the accounting department and CFO. Corporations with on-board legal counsel are particularly vulnerable, since it’s hard for them to argue ignorance as a defense.
      Non-management employees who, knowingly or unknowingly, use the unlicensed software in their work are probably not liable civilly or criminally unless they actively proliferate the spread of the unlicensed software or take unlicensed copies home for their own use.
      Most software manufacturers follow a “cost-effective” approach to civil and criminal enforcement which effectively renders many smaller business end-users relatively immune to either criminal prosecution or even civil money liability; however, the software manufacturers and distributors reportedly are beginning to increase selective enforcement against smaller commercial end-users where they think they’ll get maximum publicity “pour encourager les autres.”
      Except in extremely aggravated piracy cases or cases involving big bucks, there is currently very little criminal enforcement pursued by the various software manufacturers, possibly because most serious commercial pirating is done overseas. However, this is purely a policy decision by the software decision-makers and by the various state and federal prosecuting attorneys which could change at any time, given the proper economic stimulus and sufficient resources (and expertise)to do the job. Emphasize the word “expertise.”
      This is, by no means, intended as a definitive legal opinion, nor does its author guarantee or warrant its accuracy under any specific State’s anti-piracy statutes and judicial decisions. As always, if you have or think you might have an actual legal enforcement problem, consult a local attorney with specific experience in intellectual property law. Former prosecuting attorneys are often a good bet for analyzing and defending against criminal problems. And most former prosecutors tend to bill clients less aggressively than experienced civil litigators. SLM

    • #3294680

      Report It , and sleep at night

      by brian hynes ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Denis – We all have responsibilities to report these type of incidents. As IT professionals, the key word here is ‘professionals’, it is our obligation to do so. I do not see this as anything other than good practice.

    • #3294638

      Been There, Done That

      by sysgoddess ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Absolutely diddly happened. My manager blew smoke up the appropriate skirts and the problem went away. They’re still running illegal copies of nearly everything and selling illegitimate copies of Microsoft products.

    • #3297379

      Governance and whistleblower rules can apply

      by sentrywatch ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      For larger sites corporate governance rules apply to directors, officers and managers as well as a code of ethics if they are members of a professional association. Don’t laugh. There are whistleblower provisions that can afford you some degree of “protection” but CYA is a good position to be in with Proof Of Purchase and records of conversatiosn etc. The Directors need to smarten up their act if this is their attitude!

      Just because its software doesnt mean it can be stolen! Ask the director would they like to have 1 in 4 of their (dividend/equity/sales/bonus) read =product line stolen (copied etc) as the Piracy rate in USA is around 22% according to the industry watchdogs.

      • #3312474

        what the hell were u thinking

        by hppavilion760n ·

        In reply to Governance and whistleblower rules can apply

        no you dont bow down and give up your job(provider) who is feeding your childeren.And if the FBI did come in the door your have rights.Ignorance isnt an excuse but it has beat hundereds of murder raps.Simply say you didnt know and no one can prove different. Its people like you who are causing our communistic laws to be passed and come into affect.You damn worm………….

    • #3290817

      Been there, done that

      by theisey ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      Early in my civilian IT career (early 90’s), I was the manager of a small service department for a university. We serviced computers all over campus, including many under service contracts, and found a few examples of licensing problems. Most often, this was ignorance of licensing issues, but sometimes we found deliberate acts. In all cases we got things cleaned up.

      Imagine my horror when the I became the target of a licensing investigation! In the end, it turned out that a group of college students had an informal organization using the same (somewhat generic) name as my department. They were copying game and Office software for distribution throughout the dorms!

      After witnessing that investigation and the resulting fall-out with students who sold, distributed, and used the stolen software, I can safely say that I will never knowlingly use unlicensed software!

    • #3178276

      Removing software pirates at all levels

      by sentrywatch ·

      In reply to software pirates in the workplace

      The site link at
      has a very pragmatic approach to the task of ridding an organization of software pirates at all levels and fits well with management perspective in terms of developing policies and procedures for enforcement within any organization.

      The information provided here is based on the knowledge that many sites need better “self-help” information on how they can better manage their software and other affairs across the whole organization. These are self help articles that are 1st hand experiences gained over 15 years in the industry by an experienced audit practitioner.

      It is NOT tool focused and focuses on benefits to the end user organization rather than what it costs the industry “Micro$oft et al” in losses through piracy etc which is a fallacious argument anyway!

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