"Piracy: A 1 Billion Dollar Scandal In The Uk"

1124 words - 4 pages

Presentation of the Issue:Yearly, billions of dollars worth of software is copied illegally throughout the world. In some nations, the copying of software is done in large quantities and is mostly done by people rather than businesses or organizations. One of the major reasons for this is because these people, in general, don't see it as a great problem on a social and economic level. As Dr. Bryce, a senior lecturer in psychology, said in an article published on software piracy: "They just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available".In the UK, software piracy has been a major problem for industries and businesses like the Business Software Alliance (BSA) for the past decade. A survey was published six months ago illustrating that 27 % percent of software on computers in the UK are illegal, slightly less than the 37 % European average.Consumers perceive software piracy as a cheap way of purchasing new technologies that are available. One could agree with this point as it is true however, it has a significant crash on employment, economic growth and public spending as more and more companies and industries are decreasing in sales through the loss intellectual property.The IT Background of the Issue:Software piracy is practiced by individual PC users as well as computer professionals who deal with stolen applications. For some countries in the developing world, a whole business can revolve around piracy. Individuals can download software from P2P networks such as Ares, Lime Wire or Morpheus. They transfer the software into a CD and make counterfeit copies for sale. This type of software (type that you find on P2P networks) is referred to as Warrez and has commonly been cracked to make it usable by anyone without restrictive copyright securities in place. Software utility circulates all over the internet and allows anyone with a DVD drive on her PC to make copies of DVD movies, store them on hard-drives and copy them to rewritable CD-ROM discs. Piracy trends are showing some slight improvement in the UK as it declined in 2004 however, "the level of software piracy remains unacceptably high" (Siobhan Carroll). Twenty-seven percent of software on computers in the UK is illegal compared to a thirty-seven percent European average. "This piracy issue originated from the 1960's when computer programs were freely distributed with mainframe hardware by hardware manufacturers (e.g. AT&T, Chase Manhattan Bank, General Electric and General Motors)." says David Stoone, a specialist in the field of technology at a University of Illinois. He argues that in the roots of piracy go back in the late 1960's when manufacturers began selling their software separately from the required hardware.One may think that the ease in copying software is one of the ease in copying such software, the enhancement of technology along with sociological issues such as affordability of software have lead us to the point we...

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