What is Software Piracy?

Essay by WayCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 1997

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The PC industry is just over 20 years old. In those 20 years, both the quality and quantity of available software programs have increased dramatically. Although approximately 70% of the worldwide market is today supplied by developers in the United States, significant development work is occurring in scores of nations around the world. But in both the United States and abroad, unauthorized copying of personal computer software is a serious problem. On average, for every authorized copy of personal computer software in use, at least one unauthorized copy is made. Unauthorized copying is known as software piracy, and in 1994 it cost the software industry in excess of US$15 billion. Piracy is widely practiced and widely tolerated. In some countries, legal protection for software is nonexistent (i.e., Kuwait); in others, laws are unclear (i.e. Israel), or not enforced with sufficient commitment (i.e., the PRC). Significant piracy losses are suffered in virtually every region of the world.

In some areas (i.e., Indonesia), the rate of unauthorized copies is believed to be in excess of 99%.

Why do People Use Pirated Software?

A major reason for the use of pirated software is the prices of the REAL thing. Just walk into a CompUSA, Electronics Boutique, Computer City, Egghead, etc and you will notice the expensive price tags on copies of the most commonly used programs and the hottest games. Take the recent Midwest Micro holiday catalogue for example and notice the prices. Microsoft Windows 95: $94, Microsoft Office 95: $224, Microsoft Visual C++: $250, Borland C++: $213, Corel Draw 7: $229, Corel Office Professional 7: $190, Lotus Smartsuite 96: $150, Microsoft Flight Simulator95: $50, Warcraft 2: $30. The list goes on and on and the prices for the programs listed above were only upgrade versions. Users of the software listed above include...