Over the past several years, advances in computer software have brought us time-saving business programs, educational software that teaches basic skills and sophisticated subjects, graphics programs that have revolutionized the design industry, Internet applications that help connect us with other computer users, and an increasingly complex variety of computer games to entertain us. As the software industry grows, everyone stands to benefit. Compared to literature, music and movies, computer software is a relatively new form of intellectual property. Nevertheless, software is protected under the very same laws that govern music, literature, movies and other copyrighted content. Copying software illegally is not any different than illegally copying any of these forms of intellectual property -- and the punishments for doing so are equally harsh. All software comes with a license agreement that specifically states the terms and conditions under which the software may be legally used. Licenses vary from program to program and may authorize as few as one computer or individual to use the software or as many as several hundred network users to share the application across the system. It is important to read and understand the license accompanying the application to ensure that you have enough legal copies of the software for your organization's needs. Making additional copies, or loading the software onto more than one machine, may violate copyright law and be considered piracy. Unfortunately, there are many people who, either ignorantly or deliberately, engage in software piracy. Whenever you use a piece of software that is unlicensed, you are depriving software companies of their earnings. More importantly, you are depriving the creative teams who have developed the software (e.g., programmers, writers, graphic artists) of compensation for the thousands of hours they have spent working on a particular program. In a very real sense, software piracy adversely affects the world economy by diverting money that stimulates further product development. Piracy particularly affects the United States, which currently provides approximately 80 percent of the world's software.
Types of Software Piracy
Many computer users have found themselves caught in the piracy trap, unaware they were doing anything illegal. To avoid such unpleasant surprises, it may be helpful to know the ten basic ways one can intentionally or unintentionally pirate software: 1. Soft lifting
Soft lifting occurs when a person purchases a single licensed copy of a software program and loads it on several machines, in violation of the terms of the license agreement. Typical examples of soft lifting include, "sharing" software with friends and co-workers and installing software on home/laptop computers if not allowed to do so by the license. In the corporate environment, soft lifting is the most prevalent type of software piracy - and perhaps, the easiest to catch. 2. Unrestricted Client Access
Unrestricted client access piracy occurs when a copy of a software program is copied onto an organization's servers and the organization's network "clients" are allowed to freely access the software in violation of the terms of the license agreement. This is a violation when the organization has a "single instance" license that permits installation of the software onto a single computer, rather than a client-server license that allows concurrent server-based network access to the software. A violation also occurs when the organization has a client-server license, the organization is not enforcing user restrictions outlined in the license. For instance, when the license places a restriction on the number of concurrent users that are allowed access to that program and the organization is not enforcing that number. Unrestricted client access piracy is similar to soft lifting, in that it results in more...