How to Prevent Software Piracy
Before the Internet, pirating software required strenuous efforts. Disks had to be exchanged physically through the mail and on the streets. Physical software piracy still exists, especially in third world countries. Today As technology continues to advance, software piracy is becoming more prevalent. Today, software piracy has moved from the streets to the Web.
Fundamental Sources of Software Piracy
Peer-to-peer (P2P), auction, and social networking sites are some of the main sources of software piracy. Software pirates have a tendency to sell illegal counterfeited software online at very cheap prices on auction Web sites.
Adobe’s Anti-Piracy Initiative indicated that over 90 percent of software sold on auction Web sites is illegal. While P2P networking is an effective way to share files online, it is often abused and used to propagate illegal software on the Web. According to Symantec employee Téo Adams, the rise of P2P file-sharing has made it possible to distribute and obtain the software on the Web for free (see reference 5).
Dangers of Software Piracy
There are many risks of downloading pirated software to a computer. The Business Software Alliance indicates that there is a strong link between software piracy malware infiltrations and hacking. Malware programs can cause permanent damage to a computer, and the owner may lose sensitive data. According to Microsoft, P2P shared files include risks such as spyware, Trojans, and viruses. Those who download illegal software will also limited access to upgrades, technical support, and protection from malware.
Software Piracy Protection Law
Since software piracy violates the rights of software developers and rids them of potential revenue, the government is taking serious action against software piracy. The Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance are working rigorously to stop software piracy. Both the Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance encourage users to report software piracy. If people are caught pirating software, they will be liable under both criminal and civil law. The government can criminally persecute and fine them up to $250,000.
Ways to prevent Software Piracy
Using open-source software (Freeware) is an effective way of preventing software piracy. Open-source programs are also becoming widespread on the web. The authors of these programs usually generate revenue from donations and contextual advertising. Avoid buying seemingly cheap software from auction Web sites. The pirates will often sell the pirated software at a cheaper price to increase the incentive to buy it. Always buy software from the main developer to avoid scams. Be careful when browsing through P2P file-sharing Web sites. Premium expensive pirated software is usually distributed for free in these Web sites.
Contact the main developer of the software for a free trial of the software. Most programs have a free or a trial version. Software developers enjoy it when people review their software. Software developers often give the reviewer the full version of the software to perform a review. Therefore by tactfully asking the software developer the full version of the software to perform a review, it is possible to get free software.
Software developers can prevent software piracy by using more secure methods to build programs. Software pirates often “crack” the registration codes of programs. Therefore, use enhanced security features to prevent pirates from “cracking” the software. Software developers also need to inform customers about the consequences of software piracy. Inform them that pirating software is illegal and that they can possibly be fined up to $250,000 and be liable under criminal and civil law. This will help prevent them from pirating the software throughout the web. The Business Software Alliance also recommends reporting software piracy.