What is Piracy
The term “software piracy” covers different activities: illegal copying of programs, counterfeiting and distributing software – even sharing a program with a friend.
It’s important to understand the different software piracy channels, not just to comply with the law but also to protect against bigger economic problems like lost revenue…and lost jobs.
OEMs and Resellers
Just because the disk says Microsoft or the software came preloaded on your PC, doesn’t guarantee it’s legal. Learn how pirated software is distributed.
Copying and Counterfeiting
It starts with one legitimate, licensed copy of the software, then escalates from there.
The sale of software over Web sites and Auction sites is common and easy, making the Internet the perfect vehicle for counterfeiters. Learn how to protect yourself now.
How Piracy Impacts You
Pirated software hurts everyonefrom the software developers, retail storeowners, and ultimately all software users.
Consumers are at Risk
Pirated software directly impacts consumers because: It often lacks key elements and documentation, and it always carries no warranty protection or upgrade options. These untested, counterfeit discs may be infected with viruses that will damage your hard drive and may cripple your entire network. If they copy software at work, users put themselves and their company at risk by pirating a product protected by copyright laws.
When you purchase counterfeit software, you’re supporting disreputable companies, not tax-paying, legitimate businesses that provide jobs and salaries to good citizens. The profits from these sales of counterfeit software don’t help expand the economy by providing jobs, taxes, and wages, and there is a good chance the profits are funding additional illegitimate businesses. Legitimate companies never receive any funds from the sale of counterfeit software, and frequently this loss of revenue leads to layoffs for workers in all related industries, from manufacturers to resellers. So, as you can see, purchasing counterfeit software doesn’t only impact software manufacturers, it impacts everyone.
Innovation is Slowed
Intellectual property is the ownership of ideas as well as the control over the tangible or virtual representation of those ideas. Software is intellectual property, as are books, movies, and music.Like music performers and authors, software developers use copyright laws to protect their work and their investment in the field. The theft of intellectual property thus eliminates the resources used to develop newer and better products.
In an effort to level the playing field for honest resellers, Microsoft is taking legal actions against repeat offenders. Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy Business Desk is a program designed to assist resellers who believe that they have lost a significant amount of business as a result of competitors selling counterfeit software.Consumers can take action by educating themselves on the different forms of piracy and reporting suspected software piracy offenders.
Did you know…
A study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance in 2000 found that 24 percent of the business software applications installed on PCs in the U.S. were pirated. In 2000, 118,000 people lost their jobs and $5.7 billion in wages were lost due to software piracy. If piracy were eliminated in the U.S. and reduced abroad, it is estimated that the industry would produce an additional 1 million jobs by 2005 and contribute $25 billion in tax revenues. Regions of the US with the lowest population density tend to have the highest piracy rates. The Pacific states in the US experienced the highest retail dollar loss – $2.1 billion in 2000 alone.
What is Piracy – Copying and Counterfeiting
Two of the most common forms of software piracy are
End-User Copying: friends loaning disks to each other, or organizations underreporting the number of software installations they have made.
Counterfeiting: large scale duplication and distribution of illegally copied software.
Sharing software with friends seems like no big deal, and there’s no way it has anything to do with large-scale counterfeiting operations, right? Wrong. Both activities violate copyright laws and put the software users, including you, at considerable risk.
Simple unlicensed copying by individuals and businesses is one of the most common types of software piracy. End-user copying also includes:Installing software on more company computers than you have licenses for Informal disk swapping among friends and associates All of these activities are illegal and put users at risk because they do not have the license to use the software.
Counterfeiting is the large-scale illegal duplication and distribution of software. Many counterfeiting groups are linked to organized crimeand they counterfeit and package the software using sophisticated techniques. The packaged software is then sold as imitation legitimate software. When produced at large volumes, counterfeiting is a sophisticated criminal activity. Software piracy has become a link in money laundering schemes that in turn fund and promote weapons smuggling, gambling, extortion, and prostitution.As the technology used by counterfeiters advances, even sophisticated consumers are often unable to distinguish legitimate software from counterfeit. The rising popularity of shopping on the Internet has increased the potential for deception since you can’t see the product in person until it arrives at your doorstepif it arrives at all.
Don’t be fooled
Counterfeiters often attract customers with extremely low price offerings. What you won’t find mentioned in their marketing literature, however, are the risks they pass on to consumers. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Consumers who acquire counterfeit software get:Untested software that may have been copied thousands of times over, potentially containing hard-drive-infecting viruses No technical support No warranty protection No legal right to use the productAll for an unbelievable price. Counterfeit software can so closely resemble genuine software that even resellers have been duped into buying and distributing it to their customers. By educating yourself with the built-in security features of Microsoft software, you can protect your software investment…and your computer system.For photos and additional information, see the Microsoft How To Tell Web site and the Piracy Software Management Guide.
Software counterfeiting threatens the ability of the industry to maintain its significant contribution to the U.S. economy. According to a 2000 software piracy study by International Planning ; Research Corp., software piracy resulted in the loss of 118,026 jobs in the United States, nearly $1.6 billion in tax revenues and $5.6 billion in wages. In the year ending June 2001, nearly 2.7 million units of counterfeit Microsoft software and hardware were seized worldwide, with an estimated retail value of over $781 millionthe result of dozens of legal actions worldwide. The largest seizure of Microsoft software to date occurred on November 9, 2001 when over $60 million in software was seized. In the 18-month undercover investigation run by the Customs Service, Microsoft investigators worked with the Southern California High Tech Task Force, to interrupt a major counterfeit software distribution pipeline that moved containers of counterfeit software and other illegal components by ship from Taiwan through the Port of Los Angeles
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