As piracy increases, vendors face difficult decisions on prevention, detection, and keeping customers happy.
By Tam Harbert, Contributing editor -- EDN, July 5, 2011
Piracy of electronic design automation (EDA) software is getting worse, and the industry is in a quandary as to what to do about it.
There are no specific numbers on the amount of revenue the industry is losing. The organization that tracks software piracy in general, the Business Software Alliance, focuses only on PC software and doesn't break out EDA software specifically. But the anti-piracy committee of the Electronic Design Automation Consortium (EDAC) estimates that 30 to 40% of all EDA software use is via pirated licenses, according to Dane Collins, CEO of AWR Corp and an EDAC board member. "It's huge," he said. "It's one out of three users worldwide."
The rise in piracy is attributed to several factors. Some EDA software has become simpler and easier to use. There are more low-end versions of EDA software that run on PCs and low-end workstations than before. The more similar it is to mass-market, shrink-wrapped software, the more prone it becomes to piracy. Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that the electronic design market has become increasingly global and its software is therefore used by designers in emerging countries, such as China, that have bad records in protecting intellectual property.
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