By : M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bangalore : Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS) a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization need to rework and airtight their legal defense while appealing against the verdict and to defend its position vigorously in appeals to higher courts. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), should rethink on what went wrong with their defense in the case and rectify its position in appeals to higher courts as allegation of access cannot be converted into allegation of copying and stealing.
It is illegal to Copy or distribute software or its documentation without the permission or license of the copyright owner. It is to be noted that several employees of Indian IT companies may be having access to documentation and user-manuals of third-party products used by clients given their involvement in implementation, customization and testing of such products but it is just not sufficient to prove that their software or its code or documentation is copied and IP is infringed . TCS respects the legal process, but TCS states That Company did not misuse or derive any benefit from downloaded documents from Epic System's user-web portal and question of stealing Epic System's software does not arise. 'Med Mantra'. code is different and Epic System's software code is different .Just having accesses to access to documentation and user-manuals is diffent and actually using it and copying is different. ."Now that Indian IT has embarked upon own platform development, it needs to adequately protect itself in cases where there is a conflict of interest,” said an analyst .Indian IT services companies with software platforms reportedly could be forced to rethink their operational set up after the massive fine imposed by a Wisconsin federal jury against TCS. While TCS has denied the allegations of stealing healthcare software from American company Epic Systems, analysts say that it's time for Indian tech firms to legally and physically separate their software divisions. "IT firms need to be at an arm's length from their software divisions and create a separate legal entity for them. Not only does the software unit require to be a separate legal entity, but the company should also ensure that the employees and management are also totally independent. Unless, that happens, such allegations cannot be ruled out,” Says an IP expert . Not many IT services companies currently follow this practice. Infosys separated its software product company, which remains a fully-owned subsidiary, in 2014. "Indian IT needs to be more careful with own product development. We note that several employees of Indian IT companies may be having access to documentation and user-manuals of third-party products used by clients given their involvement in implementation, customization and testing of such products. "Now that Indian IT has embarked upon own platform development, it needs to adequately protect itself in cases where there is a conflict of interest,” said an analyst
Techopedia Definition - What does Software Theft mean? :Software theft means the unauthorized or illegal copying, sharing or usage of copyright-protected software programs. Software theft may be carried out by individuals, groups or, in some cases, organizations who then distribute the unauthorized software copies to users. Software theft is committed when someone performs any of the following:Steals software media ,Deliberately erases programs,Illegally copies or distributes a program,Registers or activates a software program illegally .Techopedia explains Software Theft:Several types of protection have been introduced to safeguard software from being copied or cracked; however, with advanced hacking skills and sufficient efforts, it is actually possible to crack or bypass protection.The different types of software theft are as follows: Type 1: This involves the physical stealing of a media that includes the software or the hardware.Type 2: This takes place when the service of a programmer is unexpectedly terminated by a company. The programs written by company programmers are exclusive to the companies they work for, but a few dishonest programmers deliberately wipe out or disable the programs written by them using the company infrastructure.Type 3: This happens if the software is compromised by the software vendors. This is the most prevalent type of software theft. It is also referred to as software piracy. It triggers unauthorized replication of copyrighted software.Type 4: This takes place when users make use of unauthorized activation codes or registration numbers. Many are using key generators (commonly known as keygens) to create and input serial keys at the time of registration. Keygens are sometimes helpful for generating activation codes as well. This helps users install the compromised software without legally acquiring it. As outlined by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), it is not legal to do any of the following:Copy, duplicate or distribute software or its related documentation without the copyright owner's license or permission .Install and use a purchased software on more than one computer concurrently except in cases where the license explicitly allows it.Intentionally or unintentionally permit, persuade or pressure staff members to create or utilize illegally copied programs inside the organization.Violate the copyright laws even if a friend, colleague or superior requests or compels someone to do it.Lend software so that an illegal copy is made from it
Nasscom, the industry body representing Indian IT firms, said that most Indian companies have been doing their best to abide by the law. "We've seen some cases which were initiated in different US courts but none of them have finally resulted in an adverse ruling,” said R Chandrasekhar, President, Nasscom. He, however, agreed that the verdict will have an impact on other IT services firms, at least in the near term. "This kind of a judgment is not a happy situation. There could be questions that could arise but at the same time we are confident there was no wrongdoing. But we should reserve our views till the legal process comes to its conclusion,” Chandrasekhar said. Indian IT industry body Nasscom said it would stand by IT firm Tata Consultancy Services BSE -0.03 % (TCS) against the verdict of the US jury in a lawsuit filed by an American software firm alleging stealing of its software code. "As a policy, we do not comment on a company's case, but stand by its (TCS) response against the jury's verdict on the alleged infringement of intellectual property," National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) president R. .. Responding to a $940 million fine slapped by a federal court in Wisconsin for allegedly stealing software information of Epic Systems Corp, TCS said it would appeal against the jury verdict in higher courts. Besides the punitive damages of $700 million, the US Federal Court of the western district of Wisconsin has asked the company, and its US arm, Tata America International Corp, to pay $240 million to Epic Systems Corp for "ripping off" its healthcare-related software. "As the ruling is of a jury trial, we will wait for a higher court judgement, as complex issues are involved in the case. For instance, there is a difference between having access to the source code and user code or a manual, which are in public domain or is a material given with the product for use," said Chandrashekhar. Noting that there were gaps in the evidence presented before the jury, he said TCS had reaffirmed its respect for IP and clarified that it did not infringe upon the IP .
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT, BPS,infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata group, India's largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has over 344,000 of the world's best-trained consultants in 46 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $15.5 billion for year ended March 31, 2015 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at www.tcs.com.