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.
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.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
Taking ownership of our own misjudgments or simple forgetfulness takes a healthy amount of humility and some honest self-assessment. Yet sometimes... Read More »Have We Become a World of Addicts?
It's hard to imagine our lives without smartphones. But people who suffer separation anxiety when they don't have their phones nearby may be in... Read More »13 Best Free Android Apps
From secure messaging to document editing, our top free must-have apps have been rated, reviewed and named the best free Android apps of 2015. Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »