Nowadays, software became part of our everyday life, running everything in the digital world from our PCs to the internet. It is definitely the most valuable technology of the Information age. Software is also the victim of a big problem that exists in homes, schools, businesses and government: Piracy. Copyright laws protect the intellectual property software developers, but unfortunately, not only did new technologies enhanced ways to access and distribute copyrighted work legally but also illegally. Software piracy is an illegal and unethical behavior that should be understood by everyone. It is important for us to understand what software piracy is in its variety, then realize its importance in the US and the world, and examining its causes and consequences and finally identify ways of dealing with it.
Software Piracy is the unauthorized copying of software. Buying software applications differs from everything else you buy: the software does not belong to you; you become a licensed user, “you purchase the right to use the software on a single computer” (“What is Software Piracy?”). It is vital to understand that you cannot copy the software to other machines or lend the software to friends, colleagues or family. The unauthorized copying of software is illegal, it does not matter whether you call it “borrowing, copying, sharing or fair use” (“Software Piracy: What You Should Know.”). You are only allowed to make copies of software for back up purposes. Most licenses only allow the program to be run by one user on only one machine (“Software Piracy.”).
There are several kinds of software piracy: End User Piracy, Client-Server Overuse, Internet Piracy, Hard-Disk Loading, and Software Counterfeiting. End User Piracy occurs when a company’s employee reproduces software without authorization by installing a program in more computers than what the license allows him to, copying it for other purposes than back up, using non-retail software for commercial use without appropriate licenses and giving the software to others. Client-Server Overuse happens over a network when more users are using software on the server than allowed by the license. Internet Piracy is downloading software from the Internet through pirate sites, peer-to-peer networks or auction sites that disobey copyright laws. Moreover, hard-disk loading happens whenever a business sells computers with illegal software pre-installed. Software Counterfeiting involves “the illegal duplication and sale of copyrighted material with the intent of directly imitating the copyrighted product” (“Anti-Piracy Information.”).
Software Piracy is an extremely dangerous issue because it caused $13.08 billion global losses in 2002, and it is up by $2 billion from the previous year. “In the US alone in 2001, this accounted for $1.8 billion in lost revenues, 111,000 in lost jobs, $5.6 billion in lost wages, and $1.5 billion in lost tax revenues” (Erickson, 8). These losses are...