Computer Software Piracy

Essay by countryboyCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Software Piracy

The term "software piracy" covers several different activities which include, illegal copying of programs, counterfeiting and distributing software, even sharing a program with a friend. It's important to understand the different ways software is pirated, not just to comply with the law but to protect yourself and your computer.

Two of the most common forms of software piracy are end-user copying and counterfeiting. End-user copying is simply unlicensed copying of software. End-user copying can be friends loaning disks to each other, or organizations underreporting the number of software installations they have made. Counterfeiting is large-scale duplication and distribution of illegally copied software. All of these activities are illegal and put users at risk because they do not have the license to use the software.

Many counterfeiting groups are linked to organized crime-and they counterfeit and package the software using advanced techniques. The packaged software is then sold as imitation legitimate software.

Counterfeiters often attract customers with extremely low price offerings. What you won't find mentioned in their marketing scheme are the risks they pass on to consumers. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Consumers who acquire counterfeit software get untested software that may have been copied thousands of times, potentially containing hard-drive-infecting viruses. Also they receive no technical support, no warranty protection, and no legal right to use the product. Counterfeit software can so closely resemble genuine software that even resellers have been fooled into buying and distributing it to their customers.

Internet piracy refers to the use of the Internet for illegally copying or distributing unauthorized software. The offenders may use the Internet for all or some of their operations including the advertising, offering, acquiring, or distribution of pirated software. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry trade association, estimates...