Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » S »

software piracy

The unauthorized copying of software. Most retail programs are licensed for use at just one computer site or for use by only one user at any time. By buying the software, you become a licensed user rather than an owner (see EULA). You are allowed to make copies of the program for backuppurposes, but it is against the law to give copies to friends and colleagues.

Software piracy is all but impossible to stop, although software companies are launching more and more lawsuits against major infractors. Originally, software companies tried to stop software piracy by copy-protectingtheir software. This strategy failed, however, because it was inconvenient for users and was not 100 percent foolproof. Most software now requires some sort of registration, which may discourage would-be pirates, but doesn't really stop software piracy.

Some common types of software piracy include counterfeit software, OEM unbundling, softlifting, hard disk loading, corporate software piracy, and Internet software piracy.

An entirely different approach to software piracy, called shareware, acknowledges the futility of trying to stop people from copying software and instead relies on people's honesty. Shareware publishers encourage users to give copies of programs to friends and colleagues but ask everyone who uses a program regularly to pay a registration fee to the program's author directly.

Commercial programs that are made available to the public illegally are often called warez

See "Is Software Ownership the Same as Licensing?" in the in the "Did You Know..." section of Webopedia.
Also see "All About Software: Categories of applications software explained" in the "Did You Know..." section of Webopedia.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
LATEST ARTICLES
SEO Dictionary

From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »

Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »

Slideshow: Interesting Facts About Google Search

From Goats to Penguins, a server outage and trillions of searches, our slideshow presents interesting facts about Google and the Google.com... Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Java Basics, Part 1

Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

Java Basics, Part 2

This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »