Software Piracy Essay

1384 words - 6 pages

Software piracy is the failure of a licensed user to adhere to the conditions of a software license or the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted software by a person or entity that has not been licensed to use the software. Software piracy has become a household word and a household crime and has had a great affect on the software industry. It is a problem that can only be solved by the choices of each individual.The computer software industry is one of the great business success stories of recent history, with healthy increases in both hardware and software sales around the world. However, software piracy threatens the industry's economic future. According to estimates by the U.S. Software Publisher's Association, as much as $7.5 billion of American software may be illegally copied and distributed annually worldwide. These copies work as well as the originals and sell for significantly less money. Piracy is relatively easy, and only the largest rings of distributors are usually caught. In addition, software pirates know that they are unlikely to serve hard jail time when prisons are overcrowded with people convicted of more serious crimes. The software industry loses more than $15.2 billion annually worldwide due to software piracy.Software piracy costs the industry:$482 every second$28,900 every minute$1.7 million every hour$41.6 million every day$291.5 million every weekTo understand software piracy, one must get inside the mind of the pirate. People, who wouldn't think of sneaking merchandise out of a store or robbing a house, regularly obtain copies of computer programs which they haven't paid for. The pirate has a set of excuses for his actions: prices are too high; the company doesn't provide decent support; he's only going to use the program once in a while. Although, what really makes software piracy seem less bad than other kinds of theft is that nothing is physically taken. There is no immediate effect on the inventory or productive capacity of the creator of a piece of software if someone 500 miles away copies a disk and starts using it.People tend to think of property as a material thing, and thus have a hard time regarding a computer program as property. However, property is not a concept pertaining to matter alone. Ownership is a concept which comes out of the fact that people live by creating things of value for their own use or for trade with others. Creation does not mean making matter, but rather changing the form of matter alongwith an idea and a purpose. Most often, the actual cost of creating goods is determined in the production of individual items. With software, the reverse is true. The cost of producing copies is negligible compared with the cost of constructing the form of the product.In both cases, though, the only way a producer can benefit from offering his product in trade, is for others to respect his right to it and to obtain it only on his terms. If people are going to make the production of software a...

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