Software Copyright Piracy & Laws |
Business Law |
This paper contains both recent and past accounts of software piracy cases. Also within the contents are definitions of what software piracy is and what has and can be done to help stop copyright infringement. |
Brandon Sampsell |
Software Copyright Piracy & Laws
The definition of software piracy is the illegal copying of software for commercial or personal gain. Software companies have tried many methods to prevent piracy, with varying degrees of success. Several agencies like the Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance have been formed to combat both worldwide and ...view middle of the document...
An appeal was heard, but the parties settled before the Full Federal Court handed down a decision. Part of the settlement required substantial changes to the Kazaa network.
Software companies have used many different copy protection schemes. The most annoying form of copy protection is the use of a key disk. This type of copy protection requires the user to insert the original disk every time the program is run. It can be quite difficult to keep up with disks that are years old. The most common technique of copy protection requires the user to look up a word or phrase in the program's manual. This method is less annoying than other forms of copy protection, but it can be an annoyance having to locate the manual every time. Software pirates usually have no trouble cracking or hacking the program, which permanently removes the copy protection.
Another recent US case ruled that the YouTube website was not liable for copyright infringing material that had been posted on the site. The court held that YouTube was only under a duty to take action to remove infringing material in the event that it has knowledge of specific infringing material. Australian legislation implemented the safe harbor provisions of the Copyright Act which means that copyright owners should promptly inform any website if it contains any material that infringes copyright.
After the invention of CD-ROM, which until lately was unable to be copied, most software companies stopped placing copy protection in their programs. Instead, the companies are trying new methods of disc impression. 3M recently developed a new technology of disc impression which allows companies to imprint an image on the read side of a CD-ROM. This technology would not prevent pirates from copying the CD, but it would make a "bootleg" copy differ from the original and make the copy traceable by law enforcement officials Sometimes, when a person uses a pirated program, there is a "virus" attached to the program. Viruses are self-replicating programs that, when activated, can damage a computer. These viruses are most commonly found on pirated computer games, placed there by some malignant computer programmer.
There are ways that a thrifty consumer can save money on software without resorting to piracy. Computer companies often offer discounts on new software if a person has previously purchased an earlier version of the software. Competition between companies also drives prices low and keeps the number of pirated copies down. People eventually tire or outgrow their software and decide to sell it. Usually, there is no problem transferring the program from one person to another unless the original owner had been bound by a license agreement. In order for the new owner to legally own the software, the old owner must tell the company, in writing, which he would like to transfer the license to the new owner. Most people fail to notify the company when selling software, thus making the unsuspecting new...