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ShareWare semi-legal question for corps.

Posted on 2006-12-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
I had to give about 200 users admin rights to their laptops and have a semi-legal question about shareware installs and expect you guys have had this issue with users before.

I have a good inventory system and can spot a questionable load of PhotoShop to get it removed or licensed, but what about shareware stuff like WinZip and 'free, except for corporate use' stuff like IrfanView?

For every piece of expensive-to-registrar shareware, their is a free and often better alternative, but getting the users to switch is another thing altogether.   Has their ever been legal trouble for a company who used shareware after it's trial period?

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Question by:Marketing_Insists
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by:Netman66
Netman66 earned 200 total points
ID: 18057469
Well, you answered your own question really.

Free "for personal use" does not include Corporations.  For that, there is licenses to buy.

Winzip is also not free, it expires and must be purchased - as a Corporate license.

You have to keep in mind that the reason most of the shareware is free for personal use is:

1)  To hook the uber-geek into getting it for the company.
2)  To spread adware and/or malware.
3)  The Corporate license fees more than covers the occasional "giveaway".

You need to put your foot down.  Perhaps, make one of the offending users call the shareware vendor and inquire about Corporate licesing costs.  This may educate them.

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by:MidnightOne
ID: 18060252
Marketing_Insists:

My understanding is unregistered shareware is subject to the same fines as unregistered commercial software - four times the liceensing cost plus you have to buy the licenses anyway.

Ask the head of IT (or the CFO) if they have this budgeted. You'll get an order to kill all Winzip installs within the hour.

HAND

MidnightOne
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by:
MidnightOne earned 800 total points
ID: 18067877
Marketing_Insists:

To expand on my previous answer, I once asked the head of MIS if we had an additional US$180,000 in the budget for licenses. When I was told no, I asked him if he had an additional US$118,000,000 for potential fines if the firm gets caught.

THAT got his attention.

MidnightOne
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by:Marketing_Insists
ID: 18070124
Leverage indeed.
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