Software piracy (officially called copyright infringement of software) refers to the illegal copying of software. It often uses the Internet. Some countries have laws about this. The problem is considered to be bigger in certain countries than in others. Those who hold the copyright get less money because of copyright infringement. As a result of this, some copyright holders publish “anti-piracy” campaigns to tell people about the effects of infringement.
Very often, the people making the laws have to make a trade-off between allowing people to copy and use the software, and the copyright holders charging for the content. At the same time, even not allowed distribution makes the content more popular. Because of these two reasons, infringement of copyright for proprietary software and content can be bad also for free software and content.
In 2010 to 2012, the entertainment industry advocated changes to United States law to make it easier to end piracy websites, called Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. Some websites including the English Wikipedia protested these proposals on January 18, 2012. The next day, the United States Department of Justice seized the Megaupload website which is claimed to be one of the largest piracy websites.
Why people use pirate software[change | change source]
Some reasons on why people pirate are: 
- Digital rights management (DRM) may limit people from using the software in ways the want.
- The price of software may be high.
- Not available in their country; no legitimate stores sell it there.
- The experience or quality may be bad for a person, but the pirate's service can be better than a legitimate seller's.
- Anonymity: Software piracy doesn't require an email, or other information that may identify the user.
- A person may be opposed to copyright law in general.
How to distinguish software piracy[change | change source]
Illegally distributed proprietary software often has the following features:
- Can't meet the proprietor's requirement for a legal copyright certificate.
- No after-sales service.
- Unusually low price (though legitimate prices also vary).
- Can't upgrade by the official method.
- Distribution by download from other than the maker's official Website.
- No DRM, letting people use the software offline or for other purposes.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Department of Justice indictment, on Wall Street Journal's website Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Interview: Gabe Newell". The Cambridge Student ONLINE. Archived from the original on 2011-11-26.