With the vast expansion of technology in recent years, and the exponential growth of information due to the Internet, businesses have faced many changes and challenges. Not all change has been positive, however; with the increased anonymity and ease of sharing information, piracy has become a very real issue for companies, both in and out of the workplace. Piracy can be segmented into two main industries; the multimedia industry which involves the copying of songs, videos and games, and the software industry which is the copying of software licences. For the purpose of this paper, we will be discussing the implications of software piracy, its effects on everyday businesses, and also briefly cover the effects on the industry itself. We will apply the theoretical framework and specify what this issue means to business managers in a practical setting. History
Software Piracy originated in the 1960’s when the CD-RW drive was invented and floppy disks were traded. Since that time, the industry has grown significantly, especially in developing countries, resulting in billions of dollars of lost economic benefits and tax revenue. Prior to the 1980’s, one could pirate software without any legal implications. However, in the late 1970’s, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, lobbied for legislation to protect the integrity of software. When an individual or organization purchases software, it is the license to use the software that is purchased, not the software itself. As a result, Software Piracy is now an illegal act in most countries. One of the main advantages of Software Piracy is cost: the software is free or almost free to obtain. In addition, the software is easy to obtain, most often through the internet. However, pirating software brings with it many disadvantages; the main disadvantage being the activity is an illegal offense. Not only is pirating software illegal, quite often the software is not clean of viruses and does not come with manuals and technical support. It also has implications on the software industry itself. Not only do they experience lower revenues as a result, but they must also adapt their business models to “compete” with illegal versions of their own software. Today, the prevention of Software Piracy is being managed through public education programs, and technology such as anti-copying software, authorization codes or on-line registration forms. The last resort to reduce piracy is legal action, however this is an expensive and difficult approach to reducing this rapidly growing industry. Common Types of Piracy
There are five main, common ways in which people pirate software. They can be classified as follows: 1.
End-user piracy: found most often in small or ordinary businesses, this software involves buying one legitimate copy of the software, and installing and sharing it with many other PCs within the workplace. This is a form of piracy due to the licensing issue above; one license does not allow multiple usage. 2.
Client-server overuse: piracy in which the software is installed and then accessed through a network, allowing multiple users at once. This overrides the necessity to purchase multiple copies of the software, similar to end-user. 3.
Internet piracy- this form of piracy is overall the most common. Internet piracy includes not only software piracy, but also media such as movies, music, television, etc, or any product that has copyrights associated to it. Internet piracy has been facilitated by the anonymity of the internet and the ease of reproduction and distribution. 4.
Hard-disk loading: occurs when a product (such as a PC, laptop, tablet) that is purchased has illegal software that was previously installed. This is a “buyer beware” situation and provides a new level of risk for any second-hand electronics purchases. 5.
Software counterfeiting: piracy which involves actual physical copying of the software onto CD or DVD, and is often sold with copies of manuals or...
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