Software Piracy, A Big Crime With Big Consequences

1969 words - 8 pages

Imaging for a moment that you come across an advertisementsaying you can meet up with an individual who will break into astore, disarm all of the alarms and will hold the door open foryou as you walk inside and take anything you wish. This criminaloffence occurs every day on computer systems around the worldincluding the internet. This is a very serious problem and isvery difficult to circumvent. Every computer user is bothtempted and immersed in software piracy in its many forms. Oneof the most disturbing facts behind this crime is that manypeople who participate in the distribution of commercial softwaredon't even know they are committing a crime. Software piracy isa very serious and widespread crime that must be acknowledged anddealt with.Software piracy is the unauthorized duplication and ordistribution of copyrighted programs. There are two ways to beinvolved in software piracy. The first is facilitation.Facilitation is the deliberate copying of copyrighted softwareand distributing it. An example would be an MIT student namedDavid LaMacchia. This individual served and maintained acomputer that was connected to the internet that offered it'susers more than one million dollars worth of software 'free ofcharge.' Mr. LaMacchia was caught by the authorities and wasacquitted of this piracy due to the lack of legal standards forthis crime. Another example is off local bulletin board systems.Many are run out of the offenders homes with just a phone line, acomputer and a modem. Here members of this service can send andreceive pirated software (otherwise known as 'warez') as theirown pace and leisure. There are not just one or two of thesebulletin boards around there are in fact many. Most reside inlarge cities and the offenders are in most cases minors. As thecomputer gains a more stable hold on our society these bulletinboards are replaced by the ones that are linked to the internet.By this individuals can anonymously put out copyrighted softwarefor the use of any anonymous user of the internet such as thetype of system that Mr. LaMacchia ran. The second way to beinvolved in software piracy is to be on the receiving end. Theseindividuals can be anyone. All they need is a computer andaccess to a computer. In this an individual willingly breakscopyright law and retrieves by whatever means copyrightedsoftware. In effect this individual steals the software fortheir use. Again in this case the offenders are usually minors.Keep in mind that is it not only minors that are committing actsof software piracy, many adults and especially companies andcorporations still pirate software but they do so at a verylittle profile.There are many ways that an individual can commit softwarepiracy. Six different methods are of the most evident ways topirate software. The first and most common method of softwarepiracy is called 'End User Copying' or 'softlifting.' This typeof piracy is the out right copying of a program and giving it toa friend or a colleague. An example...

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