Copyright Protection: End User

Although the government and the business world play an important role in preventing software piracy, it is ultimately up to the end user to decide for himself whether he wants to make illegal copies of software.

Advantages of Piracy:

There are certainly advantages to pirating software. Main benefits include:

  • Cost: pirated software costs nothing, or close to nothing, to obtain. With some consumer software packages now costing upwards of $500, the amount of money saved by pirating software is certainly not negligible.
  • Easy to Acquire: Pirated software is extremely easy to find, whether online, or sold openly in foreign countries, or simply provided by friends. In fact, in many cases, it easier for someone to go online and download an illegal copy of a software program than to drive to a store and buy it from a retailer.
  • Anonymity: Pirating software is a crime that can be committed without leaving one's house, or even interacting with any person. Thus, it is very tempting to commit this "victimless" crime.
  • Profit: Although most software pirates do not profit directly from pirating software, the temptation to make money by selling illegal programs is strong. All one needs to become a software pirate is a CD burner, which now cost as little as $100, and the pirate's computer can become a virtual cash cow.
  • The Disadvantages of Piracy

  • It is illegal: It is a federal crime to make unauthorized copies of software. People who are found guilty of the crime can be fined up to $250,000, and/or sentenced to up 5 years in prison.
  • It is risky: Pirated software is more likely to be infected with serious computer viruses, which can damage the user's computer system.
  • It is unproductive: Most pirated software does not come with manuals or technical support that is given to legitimate users. Thus, pirates are less likely to derive as much use out of software as users who have obtained the software through legal channels. In addition, software becomes outdated rapidly Pirated software is ineligible for upgrades.
  • What can you do against software piracy?

  • Don't buy illegal copies: Buy software from an authorized dealer and don't use any program offered illegally. When purchasing software, be sure to get the genuine disks, manuals, and license documentation. Do some research on the price you can expect to get for a software package: if the deal seems too good to be true, it is probably not true. It is also important to read carefully the license agreement that comes with the software, since license agreements differ from publisher to publisher. Don't buy software labeled "Not for Resale." Never purchase software labeled "For Bundles Only" or "OEM Distribution" without the appropriate hardware.
  • Keep good records: Keep the original receipt and invoice of the product, which are the proof that you have purchased legal software. Furthermore, always register your product so you can get all the technical support and possible upgrade you might need in the future.
  • Don't pirate! Don't make copies of software, unless it is allowed by the license agreement. Don't rent, lease, sublicense or lend the software or documentation to anyone. Don't download illegal software from warez sites or ftp servers.
  • Don't help others break the law: When you find out someone might be doing the wrong thing, you should make them aware of the enforcement efforts by explaining the law and providing examples of others who got caught.
  • Enforce your rights: If you discover that you might have a counterfeit copy of software, contact the dealer you bought it from. There are many online support sites you can go to in order to report suspected software piracy.