Identify Software Piracy
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Identify Software Piracy

Protect your customers and your business by understanding the types of software piracy

Software counterfeiters thrive in a cost-cutting environment, but unlicensed copying or distributing of copyrighted software is only one kind of piracy. Pirated software is appealing to some organizations because of the reduced acquisition cost; however, the short-term cost reduction comes with risks that greatly outweigh the benefit.

What is software piracy?

Familiarity with all forms of software piracy can help protect you and your customers from the potential repercussions of intellectual property theft.
  • End-user piracy. It is illegal to copy or possess software without licensing for each copy. Individual users and companies alike must acquire enough licenses to cover their software installations. Microsoft Volume Licensing applies only to Windows desktop upgrades, not to the full Windows operating system.
  • Internet piracy. It is illegal to offer unauthorized copies of software for download over the Internet. If software is available on the Internet, be sure the software publisher has authorized this distribution.
  • Counterfeiting. It is illegal to manufacture unauthorized copies of software and distribute those copies in packaging that reproduces or resembles that of the manufacturer. Counterfeit registration cards with unauthorized serial numbers are often included in these packages.
  • Online auction piracy. It is illegal to resell software in violation of the original terms of sale, to resell software marked not for resale (NFR), or to resell OEM software that is never authorized for resale by a third party.
  • Online distributor piracy. Software counterfeiters will sometimes promote “special deals” they’ve made with the software publisher, advertise “liquidated inventories,” or try to generate interest in software they acquired through “bankruptcy sales.” Watch for phrases like these. They can lead customers to think they’re getting genuine software at a discounted price.