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
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
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
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 In addition, software becomes outdated rapidly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
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
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
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.