Software Piracy

Essay by askas1High School, 12th gradeA-, November 2009

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1.) Do you agree that software piracy is a bad thing? Explain your answer.

Personally, I don't think piracy is a bad thing. Call me selfish or ignorant, but the fact is I love piracy! Please allow me to explain my stand from my point of view. To everyone else, piracy is a bad thing; it means stealing property off the rightful owner and cheating them off their money. To me however, it means saving tons of money. A original game can be sold anywhere around $20 to $50. A pirated game with the same quality is sometime priced at around $1 to $5, while a downloaded game is almost zero. With these kind of prices, it's not difficult to understand why people loves piracy.

2.) Apply an ethical analysis to the issue of software piracy.

Descartes's rule of change (ie the slippery-slope rule) can be used in applying an ethical analysis regarding software piracy.

The slippery slope rules basically means "once started down a slippery path, you may not be able to stop". Many people, including myself think that piracy is okay if done at a small scale, but what if everyone else thinks that way? Many people in the world know that piracy is illegal, but they just can't help themselves. A common mistake is that people thinks their action is insignificant when compared to rest of the world. Put it in another way, its like a drop of water in an ocean, it wouldn't make that much of a difference whether its there or not; hence, they will continue to download illegal products because their action alone won't make any difference. Even though large-scale piracy is wrong, individual copying is still not right. The number of people copying software shouldn't be used in determining whether its right or not.

3.) What are the ethical, social and political issues raised by software piracy?There are many ethical, social and political issues raised by software piracy. According to Microsoft, software piracy is "free riding which reduces the incentives for future innovations." With the information given in the case study, it was said that piracy alone was responsible for a loss of $40 billion globally in 2005 and for every $2 worth of legally bought software, $1 was illegally obtained. This clearly hurts everyone, from the developers of the software to the store owners who sells the product. Furthermore, the loss of $40 billion a year will result in retail losses, tax losses and ultimately laid-offs.

4.) What is the responsibility of a business such as Tech Data in reducing or eliminating software piracy?Tech Data responsibility would be to educate people about the danger of piracy and how they can protect themselves from buying pirated goods. There are many ways consumers can be fooled, such as seeing that a price is far below the normal price; however many times, instead of thinking that they are buying pirated goods, people might think that they are just getting a good bargain. Looking at our current situation, Tech Data anti-piracy program has seen results, but it still have a long way to go until it complete eliminate piracy, if such thing is even possible.

Reference:Management Information Systems, 11/e Laudon Pg 217-224Microsoft "protect yourself from piracy"