TUCOWS ARTICLE

Understanding Software Piracy

There are several kinds of software piracy. The bottom line is when software is pirated, the developer does not receive compensation for their work.
Published: Jun 2, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan

There are several kinds of software piracy. The bottom line is when software is pirated, the developer does not receive compensation for their work.

Effects of Software Piracy

When software is pirated, consumers, software developers, and resellers are harmed. Software piracy increases the risk consumer's computers will be corrupted by defective software and infected with viruses. Those who provide defective and illegal software do not tend to provide sales and technical support. Pirated software usually has inadequate documentation, which prevents consumers from enjoying the full benefits of the software package. In addition, consumers are unable to take advantage of technical support and product upgrades, which are typically available to legitimate registered users of the software. Pirated software can cost consumers lost time and more money.

Developers lose revenue from pirated software, from current products as well as from future programs. When software is sold most developers invest a portion of the revenue into future development and better software packages. When software is pirated, software developers lose revenue from the sale of their products, which hinders development of new software and stifles the growth of the software company.

Kinds of Piracy

End User Piracy

Using multiple copies of a single software package on several different systems or distributing registered or licensed copies of software to others. Another common form of end user piracy is when a cracked version of the software is used. Hacking into the software and disabling the copy protection, or illegally generating key codes that unlocks the trial version making the software a registered version creates a cracked version.

Reseller Piracy

Reseller piracy occurs when an unscrupulous reseller distributes multiple copies of a single software package to different customers; this includes preloading systems with software without providing original manuals and diskettes. Reseller piracy also occurs when resellers knowingly sell counterfeit versions of software to unsuspecting customers.

Indications of reseller piracy are multiple users with the same serial number, lack of original documentation or an incomplete set, and non-matching documentation.

Trademark/Trade Name Infringement

Infringement occurs when an individual or dealer claims to be authorized either as a technician, support provider or reseller, or is improperly using a trademark or trade name.

BBS/Internet Piracy

BBS/ Internet Piracy occurs when there is an electronic transfer of copyrighted software. If system operators and/or users upload or download copyrighted software and materials onto or from bulletin boards or the Internet for others to copy and use without the proper license. Often hackers will distribute or sell the hacked software or cracked keys. The developer does not receive any money for the software the hacker distributed. This is an infringement on the developer's copyright.

Another technique used by software pirates is to illegally obtain a registered copy of software. Pirates purchase the software once and use it on multiple computers. Purchasing software with a stolen credit card is another form of software piracy. Unfortunately there are many kinds of software piracy that has hampered the software industry.

These types of software piracy have hampered the software industry. For the software industry to prosper and further develop useful software for consumers please support and pay for software. This results in better software for all.

To Report Piracy:

Software Information Industry Association


About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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