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Computer Software Priacy And Its Impact On The International Economy. Covers All Aspects And Forms Of Software Piracy

3041 words - 12 pages

Computer Software Piracy and it's Impact on the International EconomyThe PC industry is over twenty years old. In those twenty years, evolving softwaretechnology brings us faster, more sophisticated, versatile and easy-to-use products.Business software allows companies to save time, effort and money. Educationalcomputer programs teach basic skills and complicated subjects. Home software nowincludes a wide variety of programs that enhance the users productivity and creativity.The industry is thriving and users stand to benefit along with the publishers. The SPA(Software Publishers Association) reports that the problem of software theft has grown,and threatens to prevent the development of new software products. Unauthorizedduplication of software is known as software piracy which is a 'Federal offense thataffects everyone" ('Software Use...' Internet). The following research examinessoftware piracy in its various forms, its impact on the end user and the internationalindustry as a whole, and the progress that has been made in alleviating the problem.Software piracy harms all software companies and ultimately, the end user. Piracyresults in higher prices for honest users, reduced levels of support and delays in fundingand development of new products, causing the overall breadth and quality of software tosuffer" ('What is..." Internet). Even the users of unlawful copies suffer from their ownillegal actions: they receive no documentation, no customer support and no informationabout product updates ('Software Use...' Internet).The White Paper says that while virtually every software publisher expressesconcern about their software from unauthorized duplication, over time, many havesimply accepted the so-called 'fact' that such duplication is unavoidable. This hascreated an atmosphere in which software piracy is commonly accepted as 'just anothercost of doing business' ('With the Growth...' Internet).In a brochure published by the SPA it is stated that a major problem arises fromthe fact that most people do not even know they are breaking the law. 'Because thesoftware industry is relatively new, and because copying software is so easy, many peopleare either unaware of the laws governing software use or choose to ignore them' ('ToCopy or not to Copy' Internet).Robert Perry states that much of the problem of software theft arises from the waythe software industry developed. In the past, when a software firm spent millions ofdollars to write a program for a mainframe computer, it knew it would sell a handful ofcopies. It licensed each copy to protect its ownership rights and control the use of eachcopy. That is easy to do with only a few copies of a program. It is impossible for asoftware company to handle five million copies of there latest program (27).Software piracy is defined as any violations of software license agreements. In1964, the United States Copyright Office began to register software as a form of literaryexpression. The Copyright Act, title...

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