Copyright infringement of software
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The copyright infringement of software (often referred to as software piracy) refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software. Copyright infringement of this kind is extremely common. Most countries have copyright laws which apply to software, but the degree of enforcement varies.
1 Existing and proposed laws
2 Notable exceptions
3 The effects of copyright infringement on digital culture
4 See also
6 Further reading
Existing and proposed laws
Main articles: Copyright infringement and History of copyright law
Demonstration in Sweden in support of software piracy, 2006.
The Pirate Bay logo, a retaliation to the stereotypical image of software piracy
In most developing countries, the term of a copyright never exceeds any useful life a program may have. The oldest legacy computer systems used today are still less than 40 years old. The copyright on them will not expire in the United States and Europe until about 2030. Changes, operating systems, network environments and user expectations usually make programs obsolete much faster than in 70 years (the current copyright length).
Under the proposed US Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA), a controversial model law that has been adopted in Virginia and Maryland, software manufacturers are granted broad rights to shut down unauthorized software copiers without court intervention similar to some of the provisions found in Title II of the US DMCA, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, which allows copyright holders to demand that an online service provider (OSP) expeditiously block access to infringing materials. If the OSP complies, it is granted a safe harbor, providing it immunity from infringement claims. If it doesn't comply, it doesn't become liable, but may instead rely on the protection of the Communications Decency Act.
Title I of the US DMCA, the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act has provisions that prevent persons from "circumvent[ing] a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work". Thus if a software manufacturer has some kind of software, dongle or password access device installed in the software any attempt to bypass such a copy protection scheme may be actionable — though the US Copyright Office is currently reviewing anticircumvention rulemaking under DMCA — anticircumvention exemptions that have been in place under the DMCA include those in software designed to filter websites that are generally seen to be inefficient (child safety and public library website filtering software) and the circumvention of copy protection mechanisms that have malfunctioned, have caused the software to become inoperable or which are no longer supported by their manufacturers.
Most commercially exploited proprietary software is developed in the United States and Europe, hence for those located in economically disadvantaged economies it can be prohibitively expensive to pay for all the end user licenses for those products rather than to purchase just one license and then copy the software without paying any additional licensing fees. Some critics in the developing countries of the world see this as an indirect technology transfer tax on their country preventing technological advancement and they use this type of argument when refusing to accept the copyright laws that are in force in most technologically advanced countries. This idea is often applied to patent laws as well.
France distanced itself from other Copyright enforcers by issuing a ruling that entitled bank secrecy to infringe Copyright. Under the ruling issued by the General Prosecutor of Paris, bank FINAMA (100% held by French insurer GROUPAMA) was able to scupper a $200 million software piracy trial by just invoking bank secrecy.
The effects of copyright infringement on digital culture
Peer to peer (P2P) file sharing technologies have lowered the threshold of knowledge needed to acquire massive amounts of information. Large networks have been created which are dedicated to share knowledge, but these same networks can be used to infringe copyright. Identifying infringing use can be difficult, since the users can modify the name and content of material being shared.
Rise of quality in free alternative software also helps to lower the use of copied software worldwide. Illegally copying software is seen by some software producers as a "lesser evil" than actually buying or illegally copying a competitor's software. Jeff Raikes, a Microsoft executive, stated that "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." He also added  that "We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software."
Traian Băsescu, the president of Romania, stated that "piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania."
Microsoft admits that piracy of its Windows operating system has helped give it huge market share in China that will boost its revenues when these users "go legit." Bill Gates said, "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not." He has also said in reference to China:
As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.
Surveys indicate that software piracy is generally regarded as an issue of low moral intensity.
Australian copyright law
Computer Associates Int. Inc. v. Altai Inc.
Federation Against Software Theft
iLok Smart Key
Matrix Software License Protection System
Windows Genuine Advantage
International Journal of Research in Marketing, December 2003 (Volume 20, No. 4), "How many pirates should a software firm tolerate?"
Journal of Business, 2004, (Volume 77, No. 2),“Software Piracy: Market penetration in the Presence of Network Externalities”
Albacea, E., Payongayong M. T. and A. Pinpin (2005) Computer Ethics.UPOU Los Baños Philippines. p 78.
G.Frederick, (2007) Software Piracy: Some Facts, Figures, and Issues.
^ "GROUPAMA cooking evidences to shut-down massive Piracy case". TWD Industries AG.
^ Nathan Davis. Thanks for letting us pirate. 5 February 2007.
^ The Economist. Piracy: Look for the Silver Lining (July 19th-25th, 2008 ed.). pp. 23
^ "Gates, Buffett a bit bearish". CNET. July 2, 1998.
^ Logsdon, Jeanne M.; Thompson, Judith Kenner; Reid, Richard A. (November, 1994). "Software piracy: Is it related to level of moral judgment?". Journal of Business Ethics (Journal of Business Ethics) 13 (11): 849. doi:10.1007/BF00871698. ISSN 0167-4544
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