Computer software is typically licensed per computer, which means you have to pay for the software for each computer it is installed on. Installing software without paying is illegal. Even in well-meaning companies, this can happen unintentionally. For example, can you be sure that every copy of Microsoft Office installed at your site has been properly licensed?

Computer software companies audit their customers and file lawsuits against those they find to be out of compliance with licence requirements. There are now also criminal penalties for software piracy. However, the most damaging effect can be the resultant publicity from civil or criminal litigation.

Best Practices

  1. Have a complete inventory of all software installed. There are many tools on the market to automate this process.
  2. Have software purchased centrally so you can be sure what you have paid for.
  3. Consider site licence or subscription licence schemes to simplify administration.
  4. Don’t allow users to install software themselves. This is asking for trouble.