Piracy is the term used to describe the huge world of illegally sharing, downloading and forgery of files associated with the Internet. Without the glamor of bravado, Internet piracy is dangerous and often illegal. There are many different types of Internet piracy that should be carefully avoided; the unsuspecting customer could end up facing fines, criminal charges, and a virus-ridden computer.
Software piracy, which is the unauthorized use of computer programs, is a form of crime.
File sharing is one of the oldest forms of Internet piracy and still raises some ethical debates. In the 1990s, file-sharing programs were created to allow users to share each other’s libraries of music, video clips, and other small files. Unfortunately, this user-friendly process often resulted in a variety of problems. Files can be easily infected with viruses to destroy other computers; furthermore, file sharing typically constitutes copyright infringement, which is illegal. Several high-profile lawsuits were filed against people who had large libraries of illegally downloaded material in an attempt to crack down on file sharing.
People involved in piracy can face criminal charges.
Many offices and companies often engage in forms of piracy without realizing it. Most software programs must be installed on only one computer; sharing disks or programs between computers constitutes what experts call end-user piracy. This concept is one of great ethical debate, as many people argue that a program must be able to run on all of its owner’s computers; a person certainly doesn’t need to buy a duplicate CD for every CD player he owns. However, as of the early 21st century, end-user piracy remains largely illegal and can result in legal consequences for businesses and employees.
Making unauthorized copies of movies for friends is a form of copyright piracy.
Unfortunately, spoofing hits many victims who are trying to be ethical and avoid pirated programs. The free world of the Internet allows counterfeit pirates to create websites that are nearly identical to legitimate merchants. This allows pirates to sell digital or printed copies of software to which they have no legal rights. Counterfeiting can be very convincing as the packaging, composition and product description can be exact replicas of legally sold products. To avoid buying counterfeit software, buy only from the original seller or check the product’s official website for a list of approved and trusted resellers.
Piracy may appear to do no harm, but it is not. Illegally downloading a favorite artist’s music prevents them from receiving residual money for their work. In addition, illegal downloads can contain spyware and viruses that can destroy hard drives and ruin computers. In the case of end-user or counterfeit software, users without a legal copy cannot receive program support or updates from the manufacturer.
Software piracy includes installing a program on multiple machines.