Software piracy is the copying and selling of copyrighted software. There are many types of software that can be pirated including operating systems, application programs, internet downloads, including music, software, or movies. Many people do this knowing that they are partaking in something illegal; however some people have no clue that they are breaking the law. In some cases a person may have inadvertently purchased pirated software. The consequences of having or distributing pirated software can be serious in some cases. Software piracy is a common practice that can be easily avoided.
Software piracy is an equal offense to downloading of music, movies, books, magazines, or any other copyrighted material. It is as simple as downloading a program from the internet, or using a friend’s copy of Office. Software piracy can also be as complex as a computer store re-selling software with a fake or counterfeit product key or registration code. To avoid this look out for software that seems less expensive than it should be or software that comes with a key generator. If you suspect software piracy you can contact, The Software & Information Industry Association, on their website http://www.siia.net/piracy. On their website they are actually offering rewards of up to $50,000 to any person that reports a company that is using pirated software.
People partake in software piracy because it as an easy way out of purchasing software. Some software programs can cost over a thousand dollars, whereas some only cost twenty or thirty dollars. Software piracy has said to have begun around the 1960’s. Over time it has grown and it accounts for “25% - 50%” of software currently being circulated in the United States. People continue to do this because they do not know the severity of a crime that they are committing. In New Hampshire a man was arrested for software piracy. He ran a website that provided cracks, and keys for over a thousand software programs. He was arrested and went to court facing a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This is an example of a more complex software pirating crime, but the FBI or other government agents have uncovered and punished many others committing crimes equal to this one and less severe than this one. Penalties for less severe acts of software piracy are included in the copyright act. “The Copyright Act allows a copyright owner to recover monetary damages measured either by: (1) actual damages plus any additional profits of the infringer attributable to the infringement, or (2) statutory damages, of up to $150,000 for each copyrighted work infringed. The copyright owner also has the right to permanently enjoin an infringer from engaging in further infringing activities and may be awarded costs...