.. This shows how fast a copy of software program can spread and a companys profit is lost. A friend copies a game from a friend who got it off a pirate bulletin board. This friend then copies the game to the entire computer-owning friends of his and so forth. If all this goes well, you can have 150 copies around a small city or town in a week. This adds up to about $7500 a week in a small city; small companies just cannot afford to lose that much profit per city, at that rate.
Currently software companies are trying to rid the world of software piracy, but the problem is vast and cannot be resolved in a day and a night. Even if it was solved, the question remains would it be for the good of the computer industry or would it be for the worst of it. Companies are claiming that if piracy were eliminated, there would be a huge drop in prices. Experts say that if this would happen the cheap alternative companies would gain ground and later control the market. What will happen, remains to be seen.
Although in the United States the Software Publishers’ Association (SPA) took action against 586 organizations last year and netted $2.6 million in penalties, piracy happens worldwide. Since its conception in 1990, SPA has received over $16 million penalties. The money collected by SPA is used to fund an international anti-piracy campaign, including investigations, education, and litigation (Byrd). A SPA estimate that 90% of software used in China is pirated. Piracy fighters are now going worldwide in an international effort to control piracy. According to Business Week, June 5 1995, the top ten world pirates were as follows: Country Millions lost in US $ % of piracy United States 2877 35% Japan 2076 67% Germany 1875 50% France 771 57% Brazil 550 77% Korea 546 78% Great Britian 544 43% Russia 541 94% China 527 98% Italy 404 58% Software Publishers’ Association tracks down hackers through informants, but its primary source is its anti-piracy hotline (800-388-7478).
This hotline receives about thirty calls a day from temporary, former, or even disgruntled employees of companies involved in piracy. SPAs had its first three raids in New York City, on three separate organizations were based on a single temporary employee. I some cases SPA will even obtain a search and seizure order from a court, if litigations are to be brought on a company. As for solving the problems of piracy, many companies have tried several things. In the late 1980’s companies have simply put devices on their programs and this prevented users from making more than one or two backup copies.
This consumed a lot of time inserting the original disk into the computer each time they used the program even with hard drive. This was very unpopular with consumers because it took so much time. Soon the companies just gave up on preventing copying and surrendered themselves to piracy. With the devices they were losing money and other companies were coming on the scene and willing to manufacture without the devices. Computer hackers were also finding it easy to break through the protection and this made distributors uncertain of finding any kind of protection.
A Company by the name of Softguard is working on making its security product, which will be more effective. Within the next year it plans to introduce a program that can be customized by each software company, making it difficult for hackers to break. Shareware, a way of payment to the company when they need upgrades and annual fees is a way some companies can use to get back some of the money lost from piracy (Computers in Society 125). There are also many educational tools out on the market today, from the books at you local library to the Internet, to inform one on the dangers of software piracy and how you might be able to help but a stop to it. Pirate television and radio stations do exist although their number is very small.
They are called pirate stations because they are on the air without the authorization from the government because they do not want to pay the registration fees or they broadcast unproved material. They are illegal and are usually cast from a hidden station inside the countrys borders or from just outside of the borderline. It became really important in England to offer an alternative to the Monopoly State of the BBC. Sometimes the stations were used to get across information to protesters and to protest against governments and organizations. “Most people do not purposely break the law.
They would never consider stealing a package of software from the shelf of a retail store. But those who copy software without authorization are also stealing intellectual property and they should understand the consequences of their action. If you are an individual user, don’t break they law. Everyone pays for your crime. If you are part of an organization, see to it that your organization complies with the law, and that it issues an appropriate policy statement that is signed and respected by all involved (Software Publishers’ Association).
The sea pirates, the software pirates Hackers and the on the air pirates all have something in common. They all (with the exception of software pirates) do their job for the passion of it. All of these forms are considered illegal because of the losses made to the owner to save costs or to collect prizes (sometimes). Whatever the case, piracy can never be gotten rid of because a new form will show up when another vanishes, history proves that. What will the next form be? Use your imagination.
Works Cited Botting, Douglas. “The Pirates.” Alexandria, Virginia: Time Life Books 1978. “Piracy.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 1995. “Software Piracy.” CQ Researcher.
May 21, 1993 MAS. Byrd, Kelly V. “Kelly’s Place” Computer and Law http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~kbyrd/piracy.html: Spring 1996. Software Publishers’ Association. “Software Use and the Law”. http://www.spa.org/piracy/homepage.html: November 20, 1996. Computers In Society 6th ed. Dushkin Group/Brown Publishers: Guilford, CT, 1996.