Protecting the quality and integrity of our softwareWe are committed to protecting the quality and integrity of our software, not only for ourselves, but for our customers too. Misuse and piracy of our software negatively impacts Sage and our legitimate customers, including our authorised Business Partners and members of our Accountants' Club.
Introduction to software piracy
As producers of software, we either own our own software or are licensed to use software owned by other companies. Software is one of the twentieth century's major success stories and a range of rights have been created to protect software owners like Sage.
Individuals and businesses are not only at risk of legal claims if they misuse software or are involved in the piracy of software, but legitimate customers will be forced to pay higher prices for software if software owners have to spend more on policing misuse and piracy.
For these reasons, where we consider it appropriate, we will take action against those misusing, or involved in the piracy of, our software.
Software misuse and piracy
Our customers are permitted to use our software under the terms of a licence which sets out what they can and cannot do with the software.
The licence establishes a legal agreement between Sage and our customers. Using our software in any way which breaches the licence, or using our software without a licence, is misuse of our software. See examples of software misuse below.
Software piracy generally refers to making, using, selling or distributing counterfeit or illegal copies of our software. Because of the value of software and the relative ease with which a computer can be used to copy programs, software piracy is prevalent. Our customers are most at risk of purchasing counterfeit software by purchasing via an unauthorised channel (see Avoiding software misuse and piracy).
Some common examples of software misuse and piracy
- A customer buys our software from an unauthorised channel and calls Sage to register the software. Unfortunately, the software has already been registered to the previous owner. As our software licences are non-transferable, the new owner is not licensed to use the software and is advised to buy from new.
- This is common where a customer buys from an auction site, particularly a liquidated business auction.
- A customer installs our software on multiple machines which exceeds the permitted number of installs of the software, which is known as "under licensing". This results in a breach of our licence terms as well as copyright infringement.
- An authorised Business Partner sells, copies or distributes its demonstration copies of our software to end users (i.e. their customers). This is not permitted and although it may look to benefit the customer, it actually puts them at risk as they do not have a licence to use the software.
- An unauthorised seller sells or distributes illegal copies (sometimes known as "burnt copies") of our software using a logo identical to or likely to be mistaken for one of our registered or unregistered trade marks (e.g. the word "Sage") - this is known as trade mark infringement and the copying of the software is infringing our copyright in that software. If a customer buys and uses this counterfeit copy they cannot register the software with Sage, they are unlicensed users and cannot benefit from a warranty period, upgrades or support from us.
Avoiding software misuse and piracy
Know who you are buying software from and what you are buying! If you purchase Sage software from an unauthorised channel and experience problems, we may be unable to assist you, and you may be breaching our rights as a software owner. Some common problems are buying used software, not receiving a serial number, or receiving a different version of the software.
Authorised purchasing channels for Sage software are:
- Direct from Sage;
- Authorised Sage Business Partners;
- Members of the Sage Accountants’ Network; or
- From an authorised retail outlet
One of the terms of our software licence is that the licence may not be transferred. This means if you have registered software to an individual or business, it may not be passed on or sold on to a third party if you no longer want to use it.
So, it is important that when you buy software from a source other than those stated above, you ensure that the software is genuine, has not been used and/or registered with Sage before and has a valid serial number. If you buy used software, we cannot register it to your business and you will not be licensed to use the software. You have paid for software that you cannot legally use. If you have obtained software from an unauthorised channel and not received a serial number, Sage will not provide a new serial number for you. Again, you have paid for software that you cannot use.
We do have authorised Business Partners that sell our software via auction sites; if you have any concerns as to the legitimacy of an online auction, give us a call and we’ll do our best to let you know if the seller is an authorised Sage Business Partner. It is your responsibility to find out who you are buying from and what you are buying, but we’ll try to help as far as we can.
Read and understand the software licence! It’s important you understand what you can and cannot use our software for. The better you understand this, the less likely you are to misuse our software. This protects your business as well as ours.
You can call our team to discuss any queries you have regarding our software licences. If you suspect that an individual or business may be using our software in a way that breaches our software licence and would like to let us know, you can contact us confidentially to discuss the matter, or pass on their details.
Information for our Business Partners and members of our Accountants' Network
If you're a Sage Business Partner or a member of our Accountants' Network, we don't have to tell you how software misuse and piracy affects you - it damages your legitimate business. It also impacts customers who have paid for their software and are using the correct licence, because they may have to pay increased prices for a software licence as a direct result of the cost companies like Sage incur in policing and prosecuting software misuse and piracy.
A customer may not be aware that they are using a counterfeit copy of our software, or that they are breaching the software licence. Customers should be encouraged to check they are using genuine software and that they are adequately licensed. You can contact us if you need support with helping your customers do this.
If you want to let us know about an individual or business that is breaching our software licence, or using a counterfeit copy of our software, you can speak to your account manager or contact the Software Licensing department directly. All information received, whether verbal or in writing, is treated confidentially.
Your relationship with Sage
Please remember that whilst it's easy to focus on your customers, you also need to take time to make sure that you are correctly licensed for use and resale of our software and are complying with the terms set out in your agreement with us.