Software Piracy on the Internet
There has been extensive growth in the number of people accessing the Internet. For this reason, the Internet has become a necessity to the American population, shown in the estimated 50 million users on-line in the U.S. The ease of Internet access has increased along with the advances in technology. Along with price and availability, changes in the web and web browsers have allowed pirates to offer illegal copies of software that can be downloaded by even the most uneducated user. Most Internet piracy is accomplished in the home or the office, with very little risk of being caught. The very nature of the Internet requires the user to rely on will power and morality to resist temptation to download pirated software. How people meet this challenge may help determine the future of the software industry.
Worldwide, more than 40% of all software in use is illegally copied. In 1997, piracy cost the software industry $11.4 billion in lost revenues, with losses exceeding $2.8 billion in the U.S. alone. Approximately 27 percent of the business software in the U.S. are obtained illegally. That translates into fewer jobs, less innovation, and higher costs for consumers. "Online copyright theft is rising to epidemic proportions, threatening the creative industries while inhibiting the development of electronic commerce," reported Robert Holleyman, President and CEO of the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The economic impact of this activity extends beyond the software industry, it can harm economies worldwide by greatly diminishing tax revenues, and substantial numbers of lost jobs
There are many ways used by pirates to commit their crimes:
¨ E-mail. An exchange of software via e-mail communications eliminating the need to copy programs onto physical media.
¨ Internet Chat. IRC (Internet Relay Chat) allows real-time, interactive "chatting." IRC groups have established a market to advertise the most recent or temporary pirated software sites.
¨ Mail Order. An equivalent to traditional mail order, the Internet adds a new way of locating customers and products. Buyers can browse, select, and order pirated software on-line.
¨ FTP. File Transfer Protocol sites allow the transfer of pirated software through uploading and downloading. Legitimate companies, government, and educational agencies are often the victims of pirates, who use others' computers as temporary distribution sites.
¨ Serial Numbers. Many web sites list thousands of serial numbers, which are needed by users of pirated software in order to install or operate the program.
¨ World Wide Web. Changing of the web has let pirates create home pages providing links to download sites. Some sites include a web page and ftp site; both offering and providing pirated software, others link directly to remote hosts.
"Warez" is a slang term for pirated software. There are over 2 million web-sites offering, linking or referencing...