Software piracy

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Autor: Chlapec sp-prace (12)
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 27.12.2007
Jazyk: Angličtina
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Software is one of the most valuable technologies of the Information Age, running everything from PCs to the Internet. Unfortunately, because software is so valuable, and because computers make it easy to create an exact copy of a program in seconds, software piracy is widespread.

When you purchase software, you do not become the owner of the copyright. You only become the right to use the software according to the precise rules described in the documentation accompanying the software – the license.
Usually, this allows you to load the software onto a single computer and make one backup copy, you MUST NOT use it on other machines in any way or copy it, regardless of the number of copies you make or the amount of money you earn by doing so. Even if you only help someone else make unauthorized copies, you are still liable under the copyright law. Apart from legal consequences, using illegally gained software also means greater exposure to software viruses, inadequate documentation, lack of technical support and upgrades. And what’s even worse – using such software results in lack of money for research and software development and so all computer users are hurt!!!

The software piracy thrives with the growing number of computers, their users and abilities of the internet. It continually gets easier, faster, less expansive and less risky.

My opinion
Nowadays, software piracy has become a common part of our lives. We download, crack and use illegal software absolutely naturally, without feeling guilty or fearing the consequences. But why is it so?
Well, first of all, the software being sold in the shops is just too expensive. If it wasn’t, there would be far far less people, who’d bother looking for another way of gaining software. But high prices of software are caused by piracy!!! Nowadays, a software company has to take into account that with each legally sold copy of its product, at least another hundred people start using an illegal copy. And so we’re in a viscious circle. And it is very difficult to get out of it because people are allergic to changes, so to say. So we rather live our lives on and on and things only get worse and worse.

People also somehow just… don’t feel guilty when stealing software – maybe that’s partly because software is so intangible – I think we simply don’t realize there actually WAS somebody spending time and effort to create it. And the less we know about programming, the less we know about the difficulty of such job. In general, we feel that we should pay for bread or meat because someone must have grown the corn or fed the animals. We also feel that we should pay for books and films because their authors had to work hard to create them. So why can’t we appreciate the work of a programmer? These people also have their families and also have to earn money to be able to live a comfortable life. I think the answer to this question could be that the history of programming is just too short; programming simply didn’t have a chance to root itself in our minds as a full-value job. But maybe that’s not the case; maybe it’s just that people don’t see what they don’t want to see…
Doubtlessly, the best medium for software piracy is the internet and that’s first of all because of internet is uncensored. Many people in many countries tried to censor the internet, and not only because of computer piracy. But, thanks God, they weren’t very successful – internet is so great exactly because of its independence. If we tried to start censoring it, someone would have to be responsible for this censorship. It could work correctly for a few weeks but after that responsible people would very probably start misusing their power…
So what are we actually doing to prevent software piracy? People always incline to do something with the consequences of the problem, but forget about the reasons. Then these actions don’t actually help to prevent the problem, they just SEEM to do so. And this is exactly what we are doing with software piracy:

1. Software companies are trying to protect their products with various activation keys, but these keys aren’t functional for more than a month, there’s always a hacker who finds a leak in the system and cracks the protection.
2. Less serious software makers integrate a virus into their product – when the application finds out, that it has been illegally copied, it runs the virus; this is in fact just a kind of childish revenge.
3. The government is trying to punish those, who are using illegal software. But especially in smaller states, such as Slovakia, people don’t fear these punishments because they are too rare – it isn’t easy to detect and catch somebody.

On the other hand, I don’t know anything better we could actually do. But IF there was NO software piracy, everybody would be much much happier – it would lead to low software prices, less viruses etc. But such a state would be fully against the nature of mankind – we are too selfish and inconsistent.
Zdroj: Martin Slota
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