Software Piracy
Software piracy is defined as 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 domestic piracy. Software piracy is an unresolved, worldwide
problem, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue. 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 a nuisance having to locate the manual every time. Software pirates
usually have no trouble "cracking" the program, which permanently
removes the copy protection. After the invention of CD-ROM, which until lately
was uncopyable, 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
(Estes 89). 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. In his January 1993 article, Chris O\' Malley points out that if
piracy was wiped out viruses would eventually disappear (O\' Malley 60). 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
(Morgan 45). 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, that 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 owner a software pirate (Morgan 46). Consumers must be
careful when dealing with used software. United States copyright law allows
consumers to place a copy of a program on their computer and also make another
copy for backup purposes, in case the original disk fails or is destroyed. Some
software companies use licensing agreements to restrict people from making more
than one copy of a program. Such use of agreements can make an average consumer
into a software pirate, in his effort to make sure his expensive software is
safe (Murdoch 2). Before 1990 movie rental stores could rent computer software.

People who rented the software would copy the software before returning it. In
defense, Congress passed the Software Rental Act, outlawing the rental of
software. Even though illegal, many stores and even some software companies
still rent software. Since retail space in stores is extremely limited,
companies could rent older software that did not have a good showing in retail
stores (Champion 128). Software companies could take an idea from the home video
industry. The larger video makers found that if they sold videos in foreign
countries through their own dealerships, the amount of piracy decreased (Weisband

33). A rather unique strategy used by American software manufactures helps raise
local interest in stopping software piracy. Companies invest money to begin
software corporations in foreign countries. After a few years, the US companies
hope that the new, foreign companies will initiate their own anti-piracy
organizations (Weisband 30). Microsoft has led the venture by creating small
software companies to help battle piracy. By doing this, the companies would
want to report piracy because they would be losing money just like American
companies are doing now (Weisband 33). The Software Publishers Association,
based in Washington, D.C., was developed to combat software piracy. As of 1993
the SPA