Peter Walker points out in his letter to Design Week (DW 19 September) that “commercial life only moves forward if there is a fair balance between seller and buyer”. The Business Software Alliance which was established nine years ago is working to establish just that balance.
The fact remains that 34 per cent of software applications in use by businesses in this country are not paid for. The job of the BSA is to ensure that:
laws exist to protect intellectual property of its members;
the meaning of these laws are properly communicated; and
these laws are enforced.
Maybe Mr Walker should think of it this way: if your competitors don’t pay for the software they use but you pay for yours, who’s going to undercut who? It is bad business practice and anti-competitive behaviour at best.
With regard to Mr Walker’s specific points;
1. Rationalise registration of software and upgrades. Every software vendor employs its own customer service operation. Asking to rationalise this across the industry is like asking Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda to use the same customer loyalty schemes.
2. Identify shareware. This is simple; if it doesn’t say it’s shareware it isn’t.
3. Legal entities. By this I think that Mr Walker means that a company should be able to buy a single licence, regardless of the number of computers it runs. Why? If you have ten designers presumably you pay to equip ten designers.
4. The BSA cannot comment on the pricing structure of members.
Director of marketing