Adobe counts on users

Adobe Systems is taking a softly-softly approach to unauthorised use of its software with the launch of a campaign focusing on educating end-users about the need to accurately account for how much software they have.

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By  Peter Branton Published  July 6, 2004

Adobe Systems is taking a softly-softly approach to unauthorised use of its software with the launch of a campaign focusing on educating end-users about the need to accurately account for how much software they have. The software company is to write to customers, encouraging them to complete software audits, and is providing a free tool for SMB customers, which can be downloaded from its web site, to help them to do so. Najeeb Khan, Adobe’s anti-piracy manager responsible for the Middle East region, said the company has made a conscious decision to steer away from the more usual aggressive anti-piracy measures, such as high-profile raids of end-user premises. “We took the view that education is more important,” he said. “If you go to a company today, they’ll be able to tell you how many cars they’ve got in the company fleet and so on, but they wouldn’t be able to tell you how much software they’ve got. Its about software asset management.” Often, companies end up with unauthorised software through poor asset management, Khan claimed. “It may be that software was just put in to get a project completed late one Thursday night and has been forgotten about,” he said. The campaign will see Adobe write to companies in relevant industry sectors, such as printing and publishing companies, and offer to help compile a list of software assets within the company. As well as making a free download tool available on its web site, Adobe is considering third-party auditing, although details have not yet been confirmed, Khan said. The campaign’s start is timed to coincide with the Gitex exhibition in October, with letters going out to customers in the UAE in September. Adobe will also have a presence at the exhibition and will highlight the issue there, Khan said. The campaign will be rolled out to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman later this year, with other countries in the region being targeted next year. Such campaigns have proved controversial in the past and Khan acknowledged the sensitivity of the move. “We don’t have the right to go into a company and see how they’re using their software,” he admitted. However, the company would take a sympathetic approach to customers who reported unauthorised usage, he said.

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