Software Industry Blasts P2P Networks

By John Wagley

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is sending a growing flurry of takedown notices to peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and online auction sites in an effort to fight piracy, according to a new BSA report.

BSA, consisting of a host of software developers, says 41 percent of the software used on personal computers worldwide is illegitimate, resulting in about $53 billion in industry losses.

The alliance sent almost 2.4 million takedown notices related to P2P file-sharing in the first half of 2009, a 200 percent increase from the same period in 2008, according to the report. It also sent 19,000 notices to online auction sites in the same period, a 4 percent year-over-year increase. Assisted by a proprietary P2P tracking tool, BSA says it identified almost $1 billion in illegal software for sale on P2P networks in the first half of this year.
When legitimately used, P2P networks can be valuable in boosting business productivity and in other areas, said a BSA executive. But “[o]ne of the great disappointments of this technology…is that it is now too often seen as the domain only for pirates and malcontents who place no value on the work of software developers and designers.”
BSA’s aggressive stance comes at a time when a relatively new form of security tool, called software protection technology, is improving and looks poised for significant sales growth, according to a recent Forrester Research report (subscription only). Software protection tools consist of a cluster of technologies—including software obfuscation and tamper proofing, which make programs harder to reverse engineer, and business intelligence, which includes technology that helps monitor and enforce licensing agreements.
Such technology has been available for some time, says Chenxi Wang, the Forrester analyst who authored the report. But new advancements as well as strong demand should fuel market growth, she says. Software protection technology can benefit both developers and businesses that rely significantly on proprietary software, Wang says.

 ♦ Screenshot of BSA report



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