Software Piracy: a Big Crime with Big Consequences

Topics: Copyright infringement, Copyright infringement of software, Warez Pages: 6 (2214 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Software Piracy: A Big Crime With Big Consequences

Imaging for a moment that you come across an advertisement saying you can meet up with an individual who will break into a store, disarm all of the alarms and will hold the door open for you as you walk inside and take anything you wish. This criminal offence occurs every day on computer systems around the world including the internet. This is a very serious problem and is very difficult to circumvent. Every computer user is both tempted and immersed in software piracy in its many forms. One of the most disturbing facts behind this crime is that many people who participate in the distribution of commercial software don't even know they are committing a crime. Software piracy is a very serious and widespread crime that must be acknowledged and dealt with. Software piracy is the unauthorized duplication and or distribution of copyrighted programs. There are two ways to be involved in software piracy. The first is facilitation. Facilitation is the deliberate copying of copyrighted software and distributing it. An example would be an MIT student named David LaMacchia. This individual served and maintained a computer that was connected to the internet that offered it's users more than one million dollars worth of software 'free of charge.' Mr. LaMacchia was caught by the authorities and was acquitted of this piracy due to the lack of legal standards for this crime. Another example is off local bulletin board systems. Many are run out of the offenders homes with just a phone line, a computer and a modem. Here members of this service can send and receive pirated software (otherwise known as 'warez') as their own pace and leisure. There are not just one or two of these bulletin boards around there are in fact many. Most reside in large cities and the offenders are in most cases minors. As the computer gains a more stable hold on our society these bulletin boards are replaced by the ones that are linked to the internet. By this individuals can anonymously put out copyrighted software for the use of any anonymous user of the internet such as the type of system that Mr. LaMacchia ran. The second way to be involved in software piracy is to be on the receiving end. These individuals can be anyone. All they need is a computer and access to a computer. In this an individual willingly breaks copyright law and retrieves by whatever means copyrighted software. In effect this individual steals the software for their use. Again in this case the offenders are usually minors. Keep in mind that is it not only minors that are committing acts of software piracy, many adults and especially companies and corporations still pirate software but they do so at a very little profile. There are many ways that an individual can commit software piracy. Six different methods are of the most evident ways to pirate software. The first and most common method of software piracy is called 'End User Copying' or 'softlifting.' This type of piracy is the out right copying of a program and giving it to a friend or a colleague. An example of this is an individual just bought a brand new computer game from the store. They liked it so much that they made a copy and gave it to a friend. The second form of piracy is what is referred to as hard disk loading. This is where a computer dealer or company copy and load unauthorized copies of software onto the hard disks or the main storage facility on the computer they will sell. This is a more commercial aspect of software piracy and many of these companies use this as an incentive to sell their machines by making more software for the machine available to the customer. The third method is becoming more popular as many more people are getting connected to the internet. This is the downloading or sending copyrighted/illegal software via a modem to a public or private bulletin board system or the internet. This type of piracy is...

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