Software Piracy – The Legal and Economic Ramifications
What is software piracy <ul><li>“ Software piracy is the unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted software” according to the Business Software Alliance. Pirating software can be done in many different ways such as: </li></ul><ul><li>Copying </li></ul><ul><li>Downloading </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Selling or </li></ul><ul><li>Installing multiples, exceeding the number of licenses purchased. </li></ul>
Types of Software Piracy There are two main types of software piracy that are recognized by the Business Software Alliance. <ul><li>A common and often overlooked form of software piracy is known as “Corporate Piracy”. This form of piracy is caused by the installation of software on multiple computers, overstepping the terms and limits of the licensing agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>Another, extremely common form of software piracy, is known as “Internet Piracy”. With this form of piracy the internet is used as a means to provide unlicensed, downloadable copies of software applications. It also refers to using the internet to transmit codes and applications that will allow users to install or copy software while circumventing the security features that have been placed into the code of the original application. Another form of “Internet Piracy” is the advertising of pirated software, even if it is delivered by other means. </li></ul><ul><li>Many social networking sites and peer to peer sites are used in the trafficking of illegal software thereby engaging in internet piracy. It is important to remember that all laws and regulations regarding software piracy apply to cyberspace in the same way that they apply to the physical distribution of illegal software. </li></ul>
Factors That Contribute to the Pirating of Software <ul><li>There are many different reasons that people will use and copy pirated software. The main factor that leads to software piracy is the large amount of revenue that can be gained from distributing illegal copies of software at a discounted price which relates directly to rational that many end-users of pirated have; the software simply costs to much or they do not want to spend any money to use an application that they could otherwise get for free or at a discounted price. </li></ul><ul><li>Other reasons for using pirated software are: </li></ul><ul><li>Testing the application prior to making a purchase. </li></ul><ul><li>The software is not used enough to warrant paying for a licensed copy. </li></ul>Source: CastleCops , 15 Oct 2004, n.p., Web, 4 April 2008
Legal Implications of Using Pirated Software <ul><li>Software piracy is considered theft and is a violation of federal copyright laws. The result can be up to and including severe civil penalties, and also criminal charges. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil penalties can be in amounts up to $150,000 per each program illegally copied or installed. </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal penalties can be in amount up to $250,000, or incarceration for up to 5 year, or both fines and imprisonment. </li></ul>
Economic Implications of Using Pirated Software <ul><li>In the United States alone the piracy rate in 2008 was at 20% accounting for a loss of $9.1 billion dollars to the software industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Global piracy rates for the same year were an astounding 41% resulting in an estimated loss of $53 billion dollars to the software industry, a rise of 3% from the previous year. </li></ul><ul><li>It is estimated that by reducing the software piracy rates in the United States by 10 percentage points over a four year period would potentially produce more then 32,000 new jobs, increase economic growth by $41 billion, and generate tax revenue $7 billion above current projection according to a study by the Business Software Alliance. </li></ul><ul><li>Pirating software results in lower company profits and can lead to substantial job losses thereby creating an impact on our entire economy. </li></ul>
Other Implications of Software Pirating <ul><li>Software piracy is now listed as the number three cause of computers becoming infected with malware according to Coenraad De Beer, founder of Cyber Top Cop. Malware is an abbreviation for a "malicious software" program. Malware includes spyware or adware programs, such as tracking cookies, which are designed to monitor your surfing habits. It also includes more dangerous applications, such as keyloggers, Trojan horses, worms, and viruses. </li></ul><ul><li>You can put yourself in a position to fall victim to identity theft. </li></ul><ul><li>With pirated software the end users will not have access to updates and patches which can be critical to the proper execution of an application. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no technical support for pirated software. </li></ul>
What We Can Do to Make a Difference <ul><li>Never purchase pirated software. This includes downloading illegal music or videos. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage friends and family to only purchase and use legitimate versions of software, videos and music. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are in a corporate environment be sure that all software installed on your machine is fully licensed. Heavy fines can be imposed on a company that uses unlicensed software. </li></ul><ul><li>Report abuses of software copyright laws to the proper agency. The Business Software Alliance offers reward for tipsters and all call are strictly confidential. </li></ul>
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