Part of the Security management glossary:

Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. It is such a profitable "business" that it has caught the attention of organized crime groups in a number of countries. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), about 36% of all software in current use is stolen. Software piracy causes significant lost revenue for publishers, which in turn results in higher prices for the consumer.

When you purchase a commercial software package, an end user license agreement ( EULA ) is included to protect that software program from copyright infringement. Typically, the license states that you can install the original copy of software you bought on one computer and that you can make a backup copy in case the original is lost or damaged. You agree to the licensing agreement when you open the software package (this is called a shrink wrap license), when you open the envelope that contains the software disks, or when you install the software.

Software piracy applies mainly to full-function commercial software. The time-limited or function-restricted versions of commercial software called shareware are less likely to be pirated since they are freely available. Similarly, freeware , a type of software that is copyrighted but freely distributed at no charge, also offers little incentive for piracy.

Types of software piracy include:

  • Softlifting: Borrowing and installing a copy of a software application from a colleague.
  • Client-server overuse: Installing more copies of the software than you have licenses for.
  • Hard-disk loading: Installing and selling unauthorized copies of software on refurbished or new computers.
  • Counterfeiting: Duplicating and selling copyrighted programs.
  • Online piracy: Typically involves downloading illegal software from peer-to-peer network, Internet auction or blog. (In the past, the only place to download software was from a bulletin board system and these were limited to local areas because of long distance charges while online.)

This was last updated in September 2005
Contributor(s): Rosalind Blanchard
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • document sanitization

    - In addition to making sure the document text doesn’t openly divulge anything it shouldn’t, document sanitization includes removing document metadata that could pose a privacy or security risk. (WhatIs.com)

  • metadata security

    - Metadata is defined as “data about data.” It adds information to data that makes it possible to process it automatically and to effectively find, categorize, share and reuse it, among other things.... (WhatIs.com)

  • due diligence

    - Due diligence is the process of systematically researching and verifying the accuracy of a statement. The term originated in the business world, where due diligence is required to validate financia... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Security management

    - Terms related to security management, including definitions about intrusion detection systems (IDS) and words and phrases about asset management, security policies, security monitoring, authorizati...

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question
  • Licensing and Virtualization

    Most customers we see today doing virtualization are corporations and public sector organizations who understand the value of intellectual property and we do not see a specific issue in this space.

  • Cisco's IOS emulator crackdown: What are your thoughts?

    I believe that it should be possible for Cisco to produce a license or an entire version of IOS that could be provided for use by students. Consider that thousands of students are using Dynamips ...

  • How to Design USB Dongle

    I have often seen ads for this in Dr. Dobbs Journal.

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.