Last year, we participated in an instructive audit that one of our clients received. A large software vendor that develops engineering software sent a notification that they wanted to conduct an audit. During the initial call, it became apparent that they were particularly interested in specific data that they had: some computer names, and user login names. It wasn’t immediately clear why this data was so interesting to them, but then the full story gradually came to light during further calls.
A contractual partner of our client performed a task for which our client provided the engineering software. In practice, the partner received a user subscription and used it on a computer that was also provided by our client. For some reason, however, the partner started using the given software from his own home computer, which was allowed by the user subscription license.
However, he did not know that his own computer was already blacklisted by the given vendor, as the vendor’s illegal, cracked software had previously been used on it. Thus, the activation of our client’s subscription on the given computer gave the vendor a clue that they naturally wanted to wrap up.
This is not a unique case, we had a similar example many years ago. In that case, a student worker was given an assignment for which he downloaded the cracked software of another engineering software vendor from Torrent. It is also ended in an audit.
It is particularly characteristic of engineering software, but it also happens with other software that they have built-in functions transmitting data suitable for user identification to the vendor. It is worth being aware of this.
How can such a situation be avoided? A clear ethical position and software usage rules must be agreed upon with the company’s employees. When entering into contracts with partners, it is definitely recommended to cover the responsibility issues related to the use of software, if the use of software is allowed to be passed to the partner during the cooperation.
If you need help with questions like this or other issues related to software licensing, feel free to contact the experts at IPR-Insights.