What is Unpaid Software?

According to the 2018 BSA Global Software Survey, the commercial value of unlicensed software was $46.3 billion dollars. Flexera Compliance Intelligence has supported customer compliance programs generating more than $2.8 billion in new license revenue since 2010.

Your Software is Cracked

If you sell a high-value or popular software product, it’s likely that it can be downloaded for free. That’s because as soon as your company releases new software, there are online communities that make it a game to “crack” your code and post it for download. Not sure? Take a moment to do a Google search with your product name and the term “cracked license.”

While it’s mostly a game for these hackers, it’s legitimate business people who are downloading cracked licenses and using your software for free. For many of these workers, it’s easier to just get a copy of your product through a free license website – or a work buddy – rather than complete a purchase order or call their IT departments. In some cases, pirated applications leaks into an organization and are used without any knowledge that it is unpaid software.

Overuse is Unintentional Abuse

There is another category of unpaid software, referred to as “license overuse.” This is where you’ve sold a legitimate license for a certain number of seats, but the organization is now using more copies than what they paid for. License overuse is hard to prove. Your customer probably doesn’t even realize they’re out of compliance. But manual audits can feel harsh and intrusive. Nevertheless, without a good tracking mechanism, your software company may be leaving millions of dollars on the table.

These Users Are Your Customers (They Just Aren’t Paying You Yet)

This is obviously the case with overuse: these users are your paying customers, but they have not paid for the additional software they are using.

But even in the case of piracy, consider the fact that these users still studied the landscape of available applications to meet their needs – and they chose your software. Your software helps them do business or accomplish an important task. They ascribe value to your software. Doubt it? They are still using it, right?

The people using unpaid licenses are frequently professionals making a living off your product. Many are employees of Fortune and FTSE 500 companies. Others are independent architects, engineers and designers who are profiting from your product. Many don’t even realize that they’re not in compliance.

Converting Unpaid Users Into Paying Customers

Our customers are using the Compliance Intelligence to help them identify and convert users of unpaid software. They are using a data-driven approach to convert those users and generate revenue previously lost to unpaid use.


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