Global software piracy: Trends and strategic considerations
Shultz II, Clifford J.
The design, manufacture, distribution, and sale of software constitutes a rapidly growing and remarkably lucrative global industry. Leaders of most software companies understand that intellectual property rights (IPR) typically are vital to competitive advantage and company success. Theft of intellectual property (IP) in the form of software piracy is brazen, extremely costly, lowers incentives to innovate, and threatens the very existence of some companies. IP theft, therefore, is a daunting challenge for managers of software firms. In this article, we make several contributions that should prove helpful to software designers, managers, responsible users, and broad stakeholders of software innovation and use--that is, almost all of us. In doing so, we provide an overview of international legal, ethical, economic, and systemic considerations, and we share an analysis of the drivers of consumer software piracy. We then discuss strategic considerations and introduce a decision-making typology, which may help legitimate companies to devise strategies and tactics to manage their software IP in the face of widespread piracy.
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