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Piracy in the 21st Century

Uploaded by eric1971 on Jun 15, 2001

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines piracy as, “an act of robbery on the high seas or an act resembling such robbery” (885). From this we can define software piracy as an act of robbery on the information superhighway. Many people do not see it as such. Even though the average person would never consider going into a convenience store and stealing a stick of gum, many have no qualms about stealing thousands of dollars worth of software. In a study done by the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft, 43 percent of adult Canadians who were asked thought that pirating software for personal use was OK. This feeling has come about in several ways. Older computer users, with Unix backgrounds, remember many of the applications they used as freeware. Software pirating also results from users having access to freely downloadable applications, evaluation copies, and public betas. This leads users to believe that all software is free. While many downloadable applications carry expiration dates, many companies rely on “nag messages” rather then a disabling mechanism. These messages are easily ignored and allow the user to continue use of the product (Stevenson 18).

Despite these factors global software piracy rates are on the decline. However, the number of illegal applications installed continues to grow, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). In 1998, 38 percent of applications in use globally were pirated, down from 49 percent in 1994. Yet, 231 million business software applications installed were pirated, 2.5 million more than in 1997. This led to an eleven billion dollar loss in revenue by software companies (Paquet). Jason Penchoff, a BSA spokesperson, states, “Software piracy affects company productivity and jobs. For every free package or unlicensed package of software, companies are losing money. If an automaker lost 38 percent of its revenue, there would be a huge outcry” (qtd. in).

So how are users obtaining all this illegal software? Consumers now have the ability to purchase goods from their computer. Generally when we think of electronic commerce, we mostly think of business to consumer transactions. But one of the most rapidly growing developments in electronic commerce is the consumer-to-consumer market. The rapid growth of Internet auction sites has created shopping opportunities for online consumers that were never before available. According to SIIA’s Piracy on Internet Auction Sites, “consumer-to-consumer online auction revenue will climb from $4 billion in 1999...

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Uploaded by:   eric1971

Date:   06/15/2001

Category:   Science And Technology

Length:   7 pages (1,474 words)

Views:   1753

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