Computer piracy includes all the illegal activities relating to the use, distribution and reproduction of software without consent of the copyright owner - Computer Piracy introduction. The types of use of software that can be regarded top be violating the owner’s copyright and thus qualify as computer piracy include the following. Any dealing of commercial nature, with computer facilities whose software is installed illegally and thus the owner of the copyright is not aware of such a transaction and does not benefit from it in any way. The distribution and replication of copies of software on carriers of information without valid authority from the owner of the copyright also qualifies in the definition of computer piracy. Distributing software illegally via the various networks of communication such as e-mail and the internet also amounts to computer piracy. Finally, the use of such illegally acquired software is also computer piracy since the owner of the copyright does not benefit in any way from the use of the software he or she developed (Belousov, 2004).
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This research paper is about the illegal activity of computer piracy and how it affects the computer industry and the software developers.
Computer piracy is similar to bootlegger; the bootleggers steals other people’s property and sells such items for their own good and the owner of the stolen property looses in such a deal the pirates are no different if anything they are worse. The pirates share and collect the software they have not developed or acquired any consent to deal with. They then use such software for trading and learning with other people. This is similar to a library circumstances where the books are shared and collected for Xeroxing and reading (Waris, n. d.).
Computer piracy is a very unfortunate case not only to the publishers who develop them but to the entire computer industry since their sweat drains unpaid for. Computer piracy is a theft that amounts to the violation of law of federal concerning copyrights. The pirates of the software end up harming others as well as themselves through their illegal activities. The benefits that are capable of accruing over a long period are sacrificed by the pirates. Thus the legitimate ownership of software is in turn sacrificed for cheap software which is only beneficial for a short period of time (Hodgson, n. d.).
The publishers are the ones who normally develop software, they include several micro businesses that mainly depend on steady sales for their survival and also to be able to make improvements in their products which make them to invest more in future as their creativity and innovation is enhanced and facilitated by increased revenues. However, all these are not possible if their software is pirated as they will benefit less or even fail to benefit at all from the software they have developed. These teams which are very creative and able to develop programs, software and other works really deserve compensation which is fair for their hard work. They should therefore, be well protected by piracy laws. Such laws will enhance their creativity and innovation and thus be able to continue producing quality programs and software which are very important in the development of the computer industry and also in our modern day lives. These valuable software and programs enables us to acquire certain skills that are very important in our lives; those that are produced for various businesses allows them to not only save time but also money and effort, thus making them more competitive and relevant to the modern world. The publishers also develop software that are entertaining and others that enhance personal productivity and thus laws should be put in place to protect the legitimate software developers from exploitation by the pirates who are out there to enjoy the sweat of the publishers as well as kill the industry (Waris, n. d.).
Types of computer pirates
Computer piracy cannot be said to be done by one particular person. In fact, many people commit the offence without realizing that whatever they are doing is not only wrong but also illegal. But the mere fact that they may be pirating without their knowledge does not mean that they are not breaking the law. Computer piracy is theft and regardless of whether on realizes that they are stealing or not, the meaning of computer piracy does not change, in any case ignorance is no defense in law. Computer piracy from such unknowing individuals does not pose a big threat to the computer industry since it is usually minimal (Hodgson, n. d.).
The worst form of computer piracy is the one committed by the professional pirates who perpetrate the offence with full knowledge that whatever they are doing is wrong. They therefore, seal off many of the loopholes that could make them be caught or their illegal activities revealed. They also make sure that the pirated software and programs look very similar to the original ones and this makes it very difficult for the unsuspecting buyers to realize that they are purchasing illegal software. Such pirates are well organized and they are capable of producing very many copies of the software which eventually flood the market. Since the pirated software are usually cheaper compared to the original ones, most people prefer purchasing them and thus the demand the legitimate ones becomes very low making the legitimate developers of such software not to benefit from their efforts (Belousov, 2004).
These well organized pirates are the ones that pose the greatest threat to the development of the software and programs. This is because they usually kill the motivation, innovation and creativity of the original developers of the software. The legitimate owners of software copyrights feel discouraged as they are not fairly compensated for their efforts yet their software are being used by other people who are in turn enjoying all the benefits of their work. Like any other industry, the growth of the computer industry heavily relies on innovation and creativity and thus if such are absent the growth of the industry is likely to be slow or even stagnate at some point. Therefore, this type of computer pirates should firmly be dealt with by the piracy laws which should be aimed at discouraging any one who is pirating or who is contemplating committing such offences in future (Waris, n. d.).
Types of computer piracy
Computer piracy presents itself in various forms. Counterfeiting of software is the illegal sale and duplication of software which is copyrighted by the legitimate owner. Such software is counterfeited in a manner that makes it look similar to the legitimate one and thus making it very difficult for one to distinguish between the legitimate software and the ones which have been counterfeited. The loading of hard disks occurs when the dealers or consultants of computers load copies of software which are not authorized onto personal computers hard disks is a form of computer piracy that is usually intended to lure the buyers to buy computers from such dealers and consultants since they have an added advantage of software installation (Belousov, 2004).
The board bulleting electronic services are capable of offering opportunities which are illegal to download software copies which have been copied by use of a modem which is linked to a telephone. The copied software and programs are then duplicated by the pirate and later sold in the market. The copying of software within organizations is a very common practice which also amounts to computer piracy. The copied software and programs are then used in other offices or at home or simply shared among friends. This form of computer piracy does not pose a great threat to the computer industry as it is not usually intended for commercial purposes. However, it poses a major threat to the company from which it was obtained since they can be used to leak some of the confidential information about the company to its competitors who are likely to use the ill acquired information to ruin the company. Companies should therefore, be very careful with their software and other programs, they should only be accessible to the authorized personnel of the company and the appropriate measures should be put in place to ensure that such vital software and other programs are not pirated by anyone whether the copying is ill or well intended it does not matter (Waris, n. d.).
Fighting computer piracy
Computer piracy is a crime that is spreading very fast across the entire world. It is an economic concern that is growing each day; it robs the programmers, the publishers who develop various software and editors off their incomes. The diffusion of software and programs that are pirated is made very easy by the rapid development and expansion of the internet. The impact of computer piracy is harder on the small and medium sized editors of software who are very much affected by piracy even if it is of less magnitude. There is therefore need to protect all the legitimate developers of the software in order to ensure that the computer industry is well protected from pirates. This will ensure that the computer industry continues to grow and that the computer pirates have no chance of enjoying the hard work of other people (Piracy Protection Agency, 2006).
Laws that are aimed at protecting the publishers and other software developers should be enacted so that engaging in computer piracy can become a very risky venture for anyone who is undertaking such activities or new and up coming pirates with intentions of participating in the illegal activity. This will make it costly to undertake computer piracy and thus the pirates will deem it fit to add a risk premium for their products as a result of the increased premium. Pirated software will in turn become more expensive and hence less attractive in the market since there will be no major difference in the cost of pirated software and the legitimate ones. Laws that adequately protect the developers of software will ensure continued growth in the computer industry since the publishers and the programmers will be able to earn fair returns for their efforts and will therefore be motivated to continue producing more with increased innovation and creativity which will guarantee the industry the much needed dynamism (Valid Net Inc., n. d.).
The software developers should also help in the fight against computer piracy by coming up with software that pirate cannot be able to modify easily for their own good. During software development, the publishers should put in place measures of validity that are quite secured. Such measures will make it difficult for the pirates to modify them as they will be required to enter certain codes to execute the software. Computer pirates are people who have a lot of knowledge in the computer world and are likely to know how to overcome some of the barriers put in place by the software developers. The software developers therefore, need to keep changing their security measures so as to prevent the computer pirates from learning the developers’ security tactics and use them to pirate their software and other programs. This conceptual alteration of security measures is very significant on both performance levels of the software and security as it allows software protection that is truly effective and does not slow down the performance level of the software (Belousov, 2004).
Validity is very essential for all software development as it allows the software developers to get a fair return of their investments. Software validity ensures that the developers obtain all the revenues that are generated from the sale of their software licenses. The protection that is offered by validity software should not only be robust but also very effective. New models of business options are opened to them so as to facilitate software sale in accordance to their specific use. The security key used to enable the user or the buyer to access the software should also contain a license key for various applications of the software. In addition, updates should be easily available and downloadable at a small fee, so as to discourage the users of software from acquiring such from the pirates. This is very important since the delivery of the software is greatly facilitated and at the same times the risk involved is much reduced. The publishers should make their software applications easily and freely accessible and available on the internet. they should only charge a small fee for the various updates corresponding to the licenses of the software (Piracy Protection Agency, 2006).
There is also need to defend the integrity of the software especially during its execution stage. During this stage it should be ensured that the software cannot be easily modified in a way that can make it possible to highjack the legitimate use of the authorized software. Any piracy attempt should be should be detected immediately, so as to trigger the retribution method that the software developer has chosen. The range of such retaliation method can vary from an alert message which is simple to methods that lead to the suppression the various functions of the software (Belousov, 2004).
The risk involved in computer piracy
The users of pirated software usually risk ruining their computer systems as a result of computer viruses transmitted via the pirated software onto their systems. This can prove to be very disastrous as it can make computer disks to collapse thus making one to loose very vital information that might have been stored in the computer disks. The pirated software is usually defective and lack adequate documentation making their use very complicated. Such software also lack support of their technical performance which are usually available to the users who are registered. This therefore, means that even if the pirated software is cheap to acquire they are usually expensive in the long run, since the user cannot obtain maximum benefit from their use and they will also need to be purchasing such software quite frequently since they are less durable as compared to the legitimate ones (Valid Net Inc., n. d.).
The pirates and the users of pirated software risk being caught on the wrong side of the law since their actions amount to an illegality. They can therefore, be arrested and prosecuted in the courts of law for being involved in piracy. Such an action can make them to loose significantly as they can either be imprisoned or even required by the courts to pay the damages they have caused the legitimate owners of the software. This can be very expensive compared to the cost they could have incurred purchasing the legitimate software (Piracy Protection Agency, 2006).
Computer piracy is a globally growing economic problem which is capable of brining down the entire computer industry. It should therefore, be discouraged by all means possible and should be considered as a crime just like any other offences that are well known such as stealing other people’s property. All the stakeholders should join their efforts in ensuring that the current trend of computer piracy is changed so as to reduce the crime. This will ensure that the publishers and other software developers are well protected so that they can enjoy the returns of their efforts without being exploited by the computer pirate. The computer industry will thus continue to grow exponentially with more benefits accruing from the industry as the software developers will feel more motivated to engage more of their energies in the development of the industry through increased innovation and creativity.
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