The unfortunate truth about apps and software is that there are many people out there with the necessary skills to pirate the software. Software piracy is widespread and continues to pose a threat to the revenues of the developers and software companies.
What is software piracy?
When people buy a software or app, they are only getting to use its services with a licensed key. That doesn’t give them the right to share, copy or distribute this software without authorization. Any act of using a software without the consent of the makers, i.e. using unethical means, is called piracy. Example – downloading cracked software by torrents or using fake license keys to unlock premium features.
Why do people pirate a software?
There are different reasons why people pirate a software or app. Sometimes, if the price of the app is perceived to be too high by an individual, they will look for alternate ways of using that app for free or a discounted price. On the other hand there are those with a more selfish reason. They tend to copy and crack the software and sell it to others, and make money in the process. None of this money goes to the makers of the software. Alternately, there are hackers who just get a rush out of finding security flaws in the code.
How does that affect the software company?
When people use pirated copies of a software, they are essentially using its services without paying for it. This is similar to using the services of the gas station without paying for the gas – the owner loses money. As a result of software piracy, many software companies and developers who have spent hundreds of hours to make this product are not paid justly. They lose money and some even close down due to that, leaving the masterminds behind the software unemployed.
So how can software companies prevent getting robbed by pirates?
That’s a question that has baffled app developers and software companies for a long time. The truth is that there is no particular answer to this. Preventing software piracy is a continuous process that keeps evolving with time. The ways piracy was done a decade ago has changed, and the techniques to fight those piracy attempts have changed as well. However, some core points remain the same, so here are some tips to help you be better equipped to prevent piracy of your software or app.
- Start out with security in mind. Many developers these days write the code for the application first and once the app is working, they start thinking about the security issues. Instead, you should start thinking about the security & piracy concerns from the very beginning and integrate them on the go.
- Make sure that the same license key cannot be used by multiple people. You might want to go for an advanced application to help you create secure license keys for your software products.
- Go freemium. Release a version of your software with reduced set of features and give it to the masses. That way, people will settle for the free version instead of pirating, and those who really love your software will go ahead and purchase the premium package.
- Be vigilant. Constantly look out for pirated versions of your software or app on the store and on various forums and torrent sites. If you spot anything, contact the moderator or owner of that website or app store, and have it removed.
- Regularly update your software.
Piracy of apps and software is an ongoing problem. Don’t get frightened if you face it, rather come up with a strategy on how to bounce back from this and continue to do better with your software and apps. Remember that there is always room for improvements.