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warez

Contributor(s): Mike Siekkinen

Warez (pronounced as though spelled "wares" or possibly by some pronounced like the city of "Juarez") is a term used by software "pirates" to describe software that has been stripped of its copy-protection and made available on the Internet for downloading. People who create warez sites sometimes call them "warez sitez" and use "z" in other pluralizations.

According to the International Planning & Research Corporation, warez Web sites cost software vendors $11.8 billion in 2001. The most popular downloads at warez sites include applications from major vendors such as Microsoft, Symantec, Macromedia, and Adobe Systems. The vendors have joined forces with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to successfully close a loophole in Internet law that allowed warez distributors to avoid legal prosecution as long as they didn't profit monetarily from their distributions. (Use of warez software is also illegal and may result in a jail sentence.)

Warez should not be confused with shareware or freeware software applications, which are legal and may be freely copied and distributed.

This was last updated in September 2005

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