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V.i. Labs Launches SaaS Software Piracy Tool

V.i. Laboratories released a new SaaS-based intelligence tool, CodeArmor Software Intelligence Online, for collecting data on how and where software gets used, which features customers most rely on, as well as how many unlicensed copies are in use.

The software, which is aimed at small and midsize independent software vendors (ISVs), is based on V.i. Labs' existing CodeArmor Intelligence engine, which was designed to help larger ISVs track the use -- and misuse -- of their software.

"Many vendors with newer products, smaller niche markets, or who are skeptical as to the extent of their piracy problem need a reporting option that minimizes their infrastructure requirements and provides fast access to reporting capabilities," said Joseph Noonan, president and CEO, V.i. Labs.

The new CodeArmor software offers software usage reporting, for product management and development teams to review which features are most used, make better-informed decisions about "sunsetting" support for older software and track beta adoption. It also offers tracking of trial downloads, as well as piracy detection and reporting, which V.i. Labs said can be configured to ensure that ISVs don't collect people's personally identifiable information.

To use CodeArmor, ISVs first insert a snippet of code into their applications. "If you think about Google Analytics, you put a snippet of code into your website, and it shows you how it's used," said Michael Goff, marketing director at V.i. Labs. Besides allowing software to then "phone home" to CodeArmor, the code also stores an encrypted information archive on the local PC, which can be useful in the event that an insider phones the Business Software Alliance (BSA) piracy software hotline and an audit team raids the premises.

According to a recent study of software piracy conducted by IDC and sponsored by the BSA, the global commercial value of unlicensed software in 2009 was $54.1 billion, with $8.4 billion of that occurring in the United States.

Clearly, the impact of any license noncompliance or piracy, said Amy Konary, director of software licensing and provisioning at IDC, is clearly lost revenue. "Yet, a high percentage of software firms rely either on the honor system or outdated technology to address this," she said. "By doing so, they lose an opportunity to improve the satisfaction of honest customers and partners, as well as recover revenue."

For ISVs, the quickest route to revenue recovery, said Goff, is to sell licenses to businesses that already use the software, but haven't paid for it. Accordingly, the firm also offers a CodeArmor plug-in for, to help salespeople get a sense of -- or even trace back, via IP addresses -- which organizations infringe their licenses the most.