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Encyclopedia > Copyright infringement of software

The copyright infringement of software (also known as software piracy) refers to several practices when done without the permission of the copyright holder: Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... The Cathach of St. ... Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ...

  • Creating a copy and/or selling it. This is the act that some people refer to as "software piracy". This is copyright infringement in most countries and is unlikely to be fair use or fair dealing if the work remains commercially available. In some countries the laws may allow the selling of a version modified for use by blind people, students (for educational product) or similar. Differences in legislation may also make the copyright void in some jurisdictions, but not the others.
  • Creating a copy and giving it to someone else. This constitutes copyright infringement in most jurisdictions. It is not infringing under specific circumstances such as fair use and fair dealing.
  • Creating a copy to serve as a backup. This is seen as a fundamental right of the software-buyer in some countries, e.g., Germany, Spain, Brazil and Philippines. It can be infringement, depending on the laws and the case law interpretations of those laws, currently undergoing changes in many countries. In the US, legal action was taken against companies which made backup copies while repairing computers (see MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc. (1993)) and as a result, US law was changed so that making temporary backup copies of software while repairing computers is not copyright infringement.
  • Renting the original software. Software licenses often never restrict the usual right of a purchaser of a copyrighted work to let others borrow the work. In some jurisdictions the validity of such restrictions are disputed, but some require permission from the copyright holder to allow renting the software.
  • Buying the original software. Licenses never say that the buyer does not buy the software but instead pays for the right to use the software. In the US, the first-sale doctrine, Softman v. Adobe [1] and Novell, Inc. v. CPU Distrib., Inc. ruled that software sales are purchases, not licenses, and resale, including unbundling, is lawful regardless of a contractual prohibition. The reasoning in Softman v. Adobe suggests that resale of student licensed versions, provided they are accurately described as such, is also not infringing.
  • Bulletin Board Sharing/Internet Piracy- Albacea et al (2005) states that this infringement occurs when System Operators share (by electronic transfer) copyrighted materials on bulletin boards or the internet for users to download.

Copyright infringement of software is extremely common in the United States, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Zimbabwe and several other parts of the world. Most countries have copyright laws which apply to software, but they are better enforced in some countries than others. Since a dispute over WTO membership between Iran and USA, which led to the legalization in Iran of the distribution of software without the permission of any copyright holder (see Iran and copyright issues), there have been fears that world governments might try to use copyright laws and enforcement politically. For fair use in trademark law, see Fair use (US trademark law). ... Fair dealing is a doctrine of limitations and exceptions to copyright which is found in many of the common law jurisdictions of the Commonwealth of Nations. ... For other uses of Backup, see Backup (disambiguation). ... Case law (also known as decisional law) is that body of reported judicial opinions in countries that have common law legal systems that are published and thereby become precedent, i. ... MAI Systems Corp. ... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 WIPO treaties. ... The first-sale doctrine is a limitation on copyright that was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1908 and subsequently codified in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 109. ... Holding Plaintiff software companys product was sold rather than licensed to the defendant, who was therefore entitled to resell it in separate components. ... For other uses of the initials WTO, see WTO (disambiguation). ... Examples of popular pirated items in Iran. ...

The rate of copyright infringement of software in the Asia-Pacific region has been estimated at 53% for 2004, and over 90% in regions such as Vietnam.[1]


Existing and proposed laws

To many of these attempts at circumventing these end user license agreements (EULA) software vendors counter that if a user somehow obtains software without agreeing to or becoming bound by the end user license agreement, then they do not have any license to use the software at all. The Cathach of St. ... Copyright was not invented until after the advent of the printing press and with wider public literacy. ... A software license is a type of proprietary or gratiuitious license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software — sometimes called an End User License Agreement (EULA) — that specifies the perimeters of the permission granted by the owner to the...

In most third world countries, the term of a copyright never exceeds any useful life a program may have. The oldest legacy computer systems used today are still less than 40 years old. The copyright on them will not expire in the United States and Europe until about 2030. Changes in computer hardware, operating systems, network environments and user expectations usually make programs obsolete much faster than in 70 years (the current copyright length). Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... 2030 (MMXXX) will be a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Under the proposed US Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA), a controversial model law that has been adopted in Virginia and Maryland, software manufacturers are granted broad rights to shut down unauthorized software copiers without court intervention similar to some of the provisions found in Title II of the US DMCA, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, which allows copyright holders to demand that an online service provider (OSP) expeditiously block access to infringing materials. If the OSP complies, it is granted a safe harbor, providing it immunity from infringement claims. If it doesn't comply, it doesn't become liable, but may instead rely on the protection of the Communications Decency Act. The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is a proposed law to create a clear and uniform set of rules to govern such areas as software licensing, online access, and other transactions in computer information. ... In the US, a Uniform Act is an act proposed by the Uniform Law Commissioners, more formally known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, a body of lawyers and other professionals who work for the standardisation of U.S. state laws in the United States of... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Official language(s) None (English, de facto) Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Largest metro area Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 42nd  - Total 12,407 sq mi (32,133 km²)  - Width 101 miles (145 km)  - Length 249 miles (400 km)  - % water 21  - Latitude 37° 53′ N to 39° 43′ N... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a controversial United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. ... The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA), a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act known as DMCA 512 or the DMCA takedown provisions, is a 1998 United States federal law that provided a safe harbor to online service providers (OSPs, including internet service providers) that promptly take down... An online service provider can include internet service providers and web sites, such as Wikipedias or Usenet (commonly accessed through Google Groups). ... In literal terms, safe harbor or safe harbour is a harbor which is protected and provides safety from weather or attack. ... The Communications Decency Act (CDA) was arguably the first attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornographic material on the Internet, in response to public concerns in 1996. ...

Title I of the US DMCA, the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act has provisions that prevent persons from "circumvent[ing] a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work". Thus if a software manufacturer has some kind of software, dongle or password access device installed in the software any attempt to bypass such a copy prevention scheme may be actionable — though the US Copyright Office is currently reviewing anticircumvention rulemaking under DMCA — anticircumvention exemptions that have been in place under the DMCA include those in software designed to filter websites that are generally seen to be inefficient (child safety and public library website filtering software) and the circumvention of copy prevention mechanisms that have malfunctioned, have caused the software to become inoperable or which are no longer supported by their manufacturers. For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a controversial United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. ... The WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act, is a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 U.S. law. ... In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ...

Most commercially exploited proprietary software is developed in the United States, Japan and Europe, hence for those located in economically disadvantaged economies it can be prohibitively expensive to pay for all the end user licenses for those products rather than to purchase just one license and then copy the software without paying any additional licensing fees. Some critics in the developing countries of the world see this as an indirect technology transfer tax on their country preventing technological advancement and they use this type of argument when refusing to accept the copyright laws that are in force in most technologically advanced countries. This idea is often applied to patent laws as well. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Patent (disambiguation). ...

Mere possession of unauthorized copy could be a ground for an offense depending on provisions of existing laws of a country.

The effects of copyright infringement on digital culture

Peer to peer (P2P) file sharing technologies have lowered the threshold of knowledge needed to acquire massive amounts of information. Large networks have been created which are dedicated to share knowledge, but these same networks can be used to distribute infringing material. Identifying infringing material isn't always trivial, since the users can modify the name of material being shared. For other uses, see Peer-to-peer (disambiguation). ... File sharing is the activity of making files available to other users for download over the Internet, but also over smaller networks. ...

In an agricultural legal sense, copyright infringement is always equivalent to theft because the owner is always directly deprived of an item. Even if it is assumed that only a portion of those infringing the author's copyright would ever have bought the software, the author will still suffer an economic loss as a result.

Software authors suggest that copyright infringement negatively affects the economy by decreasing the profits that allow for further development and growth within the software industry. The U.S. is the country most affected, as they provide about 80% of the world's software.[2] Software counterfeiting is claimed to be a large problem by some, resulting in a revenue loss of US $11-12 billion, China and Vietnam being the biggest offenders [3].

It has been suggested that counterfeit software will decline so much as to be eliminated in the future, but there are measures being taken and rules being put into place to work towards this goal. "In the United States, for example, the level of piracy has been reduced from 48% in 1989 to 25% in 2002."[2] Rise of quality in free alternative software also helps to lower the use of copied software worldwide. Illegally copying software is seen by some software producers as a "lesser evil" than actually buying or illegally copying a competitor's software . Jeff Raikes , a Microsoft executive ,stated that "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," . He also added [4] that "We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software." Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual revenue of US$44. ...

Traian Băsescu, the president of Romania, stated that "piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania."[3] Traian Băsescu (born November 4, 1951) is a Romanian politician and former Merchant Navy officer. ...

Types of copyright infringement of software

According to the Business Software Alliance, copyright infringement of software takes several forms, which include the following. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a trade group established in 1988 and representing a number of the worlds largest software makers. ...

"CD-R infringement" is the illegal copying of software using CD-R recording technology. This form of copyright infringement occurs when a person downloads a copy of music onto a CD and re-distributes them to friends. Downloading any kind of music from a website such as: Limewire, Youtube, Mercora, Kazaa & Napster falls under this category. This could lead up to lawsuits & even time spent in prison to those who are illegally downloading music.

"Commercial Use of Non-commercial Software" is using educational or other commercial-use-restricted software in violation of the software license is a form of copyright infringement.

"Counterfeiting" is the duplication and sale of unauthorized copies of software in such a manner as to try to pass off the illegal copy as if it were a legitimate copy produced or authorized by the legal publisher. This is also often a violation of trade mark laws. The Bass Red Triangle, was the first trademark registered in Britain in 1876. ...

"Hard-disk loading" occurs when an individual or company sells computers preloaded with illegal copies of software.

"Internet infringement" is the illegal uploading of software on to the Internet for anyone to copy.

"OEM infringement/unbundling" is known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software, is only legally sold with specified hardware. Whether misappropriating OEM software constitutes copyright infringement is subject to interpretation - a software publisher would have a difficult time prosecuting a person who has successfully purchased a genuine OEM copy but who, according to the license agreement, would have been supposed to purchase a retail copy. This is because a court must also consider laws relating to the commercial sales of goods such as the Uniform Commercial Code in the United States, which are more established in law and which can be interpreted to prohibit or nullify licensing terms that negate the established nature of a common sale transaction. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC or the Code) is one of a number of uniform acts that have been promulgated in conjunction with efforts to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in 49 states (all except Louisiana) within the United States of America. ...

"Softlifting" is a neologism invented by anti-copyright infringement advocates, and is a term used to describe when a person purchases a single licensed copy of a software program and loads it on several machines, in violation of the terms of the license agreement. A neologism is a word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (or coined), often to apply to new concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older terminology sound more contemporary. ...

"Unrestricted client access infringement" occurs when a copy of a software program is copied onto an organization's servers and the organization's network "clients" are allowed to freely access the software in violation of the terms of the license agreement.

Objections to the term "piracy"

Copyright Infringement has been called piracy since at least 1879, and is even called such in the 1886 Berne Convention[4]. Some modern groups object to the term "software piracy", however, believing that such a term unfairly equates copyright violators with murderers and thieves. Evidence of this can be seen in the Free Software Foundation's list of confusing words [5]. The Cathach of St. ... For the treaty establishing the General Postal Union, see Treaty of Bern. ... The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit corporation founded in October 1985 by Richard Stallman to support the free software movement (free as in freedom), and in particular the GNU project. ...


  1. International Journal of Research in Marketing, December 2003 (Volume 20, No. 4), "How many pirates should a software firm tolerate?"
  2. Journal of Business, 2004, (Volume 77, No. 2),“Software Piracy: Market penetration in the Presence of Network Externalities”
  3. Albacea, E., Payongayong M. T. and A. Pinpin (2005) Computer Ethics.UPOU Los Baños Philippines. p 78.
  1. ^ http://w3.bsa.org/globalstudy/
  2. ^ Software and Information Industry Association page on Piracy
  3. ^ Nathan Davis. Thanks for letting us pirate. 5 February 2007.
  4. ^ See Berne Copyright Convention, 1886: "Pirated works may be seized on importation into those countries of the Union where the original work enjoys legal protection." (Art. 12).

See also

Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ... Software copyright, the relatively recent extension of copyright law to machine-readable software, has allowed a market for proprietary software to flourish for some time. ... Product activation is a license validation procedure required by some proprietary computer software programs. ... Abandonware is widely thought to be computer software that is no longer current. ... The reversed c in a full circle is the copyleft symbol. ... Source code (commonly just source or code) is any series of statements written in some human-readable computer programming language. ... Australian copyright law is based on the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and defines copyright in Australia. ... The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is a UK-based industry-sponsored organization who pursue those who use copy or distribute software without paying a fee to one of its sponsors. ... Computer Associates International, Inc. ... Chained parallel port copy prevention dongles. ... iLok SmartKey The iLok or InterLok is a copy protection method developed and manufactured by PACE Anti-Piracy of San Jose, California utilizing a USB hardware key or Dongle, and an online registration system at www. ... Warez refers primarily to copyrighted works traded in violation of copyright law. ... Windows Genuine Advantage Notification in Windows XP Windows Genuine Advantage Notification in Windows Vista Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is an anti-piracy system enacted by Microsoft that enforces Microsoft Windows online validation of the authenticity of several recent Microsoft operating systems when accessing several Microsoft Windows services, such as Windows... Chained parallel port copy prevention dongles. ... TDi GmbH is a company that provides solutions for software license protection and internet login with headquarters offices in Dortmund, Germany as well as in Zug, Switzerland. ...

External links

  • The "Software Piracy" Controversy by The Linux Information Project (LINFO)
  • Articles and Resources for those Accused of Software Copyright Infringement
  • Report Video Game Piracy, Entertainment Software Association
  • Software piracy statistics in different countries
  • Microsoft Software Piracy; Microsoft page on preventing software piracy.
  • Anti-piracy information from the Business Software Alliance
  • Piracy Report Form, reports to the Business Software Alliance.
  • Anti-piracy information from The Software & Information Industry Association
  • Preventing the piracy of Adobe software, by Adobe Systems
  • Software piracy 'seen as normal', BBC, Thursday, 23 June, 2005.
  • Just Say No to Software Piracy, Manila Bulletin, Sunday, 24 October 2004. Consumer column advises alternatives to software piracy.
  • http://www.penetrationtest.com/whistle.php - Whistleblower - Scan your NNTP news provider for the presence of pirated music, movies or software
  • What is copyright infringement? Fact Sheets Australian Government Department of Communication, Information Technology and Arts
  • http://www.piracyalternatives.org/ Piracy Alternatives Group. A group dedicated to open source software alternatives.

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a trade group established in 1988 and representing a number of the worlds largest software makers. ... Adobe Systems (pronounced a-DOE-bee IPA: ) (NASDAQ: ADBE) (LSE: ABS) is an American computer software company headquartered in San Jose, California, USA. Adobe was founded in December 1982[1] by John Warnock and Charles Geschke, who established the company after leaving Xerox PARC in order to develop and sell...

Further reading

  • Siva Vaidhyanathan. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York University Press, 2001. 243 pages. ISBN 0-8147-8806-8

  Results from FactBites:
Copyright infringement of software - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1950 words)
This is copyright infringement in most countries and is unlikely to be fair use or fair dealing if the work remains commercially available.
Copyright infringement of software is extremely common in Mexico, China, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, United States, and several other parts of the world where it too operates without restraint.
Some groups including the Free Software Foundation object to the term "software piracy." Their objection stems from the idea that to label one as a pirate creates a prejudice that is used to gain political ground.
  More results at FactBites »



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