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Saturday, January 13, 2024

What Is Software program Piracy? – Panda Safety

Software program piracy has develop into a worldwide subject, with China, america and India being the highest three offenders. In 2022, 6.2% of individuals worldwide visited software program piracy web sites.

Software program piracy doesn’t require a hacker or expert coder. Any regular particular person with a pc can develop into a software program pirate in the event that they don’t know in regards to the software program legal guidelines. With such a widespread influence, it’s essential to grasp what software program piracy is and the hazards it presents.

software piracy definition

What Is Software program Piracy?

Software program piracy is the unauthorized use of legally protected software program, which consists of stealing, copying, distributing, modifying or promoting the software program. Copyright legal guidelines have been initially put into place in order that individuals who develop software program (programmers, writers, graphic artists, and many others.) would get correct credit score and compensation for his or her work. When software program piracy happens, compensation is stolen from these copyright holders.

Software program Piracy Regulation

Software program piracy is unlawful and constitutes a federal crime. The financial penalties for many who break this regulation can attain as much as $150,000 per occasion of copyright violation. An end-user license settlement (EULA) is a license used for many software program. It’s a contract between the producer and/or writer and the top person. This settlement defines guidelines for software program use, and never each settlement is similar. One frequent rule in most EULAs prohibits customers from sharing the software program with others.

graphic showing types of software piracy

The Risks of Software program Piracy

Software program piracy could also be cheaper than buying legit software program, however there are a lot of risks that software program pirates ought to concentrate on. People who proceed to interact in software program piracy danger harming their digital expertise by permitting viruses to contaminate their computer systems or turning into an internet goal for authorities.

Penalties of software program piracy embody:

  • Elevated possibilities of software program malfunction or failure: When software program is obtained illegally, there’s a better probability of encountering glitches, errors or failures. Pirated software program lacks the standard management measures that legit software program makes use of to check or enhance the software program to a extra practical model, leading to compromised efficiency and probably unstable methods.
  • Forfeited entry to assist companies: Coaching, upgrades, buyer assist and bug fixes are all included with legit software program purchases. Customers lose entry to those companies once they use pirated software program, leaving them with out the help they should optimize their software program expertise.
  • No guarantee and lack of updates: Pirated software program lacks warranties, that means customers haven’t any useful resource choices if it fails to work. Customers who do not need entry to official updates miss out on essential safety patches and enhancements, leaving their methods susceptible to cybersecurity threats and missing the most recent options. 
  • Elevated danger of malware, viruses or adware: Customers are extra susceptible to malware, viruses and adware when downloading unofficial software program. Pirates can modify software program packages to incorporate malicious code, which places the software program and the person’s laptop system prone to compromised information.
  • Slowed PC efficiency: Illegitimate software program could include added packages, options, or altered code which will considerably decelerate a pc’s efficiency. This negatively impacts the person expertise and places all the system’s stability and reliability in danger. 
  • Authorized repercussions resulting from copyright infringement: People who use pirated software program danger critical authorized penalties. Copyright infringement is a punishable offense and will trigger software program corporations to actively pursue authorized motion towards you. Utilizing pirated software program may end up in fines, penalties and even imprisonment.
  • Compatibility points: Pirated software program won’t work with different packages or working methods, leading to information loss, formatting points or inefficiency.

Forms of Software program Piracy

There are seven major sorts of software program piracy. This number of pirating methods explains how individuals could open the door to riskware or influence their laptop’s efficiency.


Softlifting is when somebody purchases one model of the software program and downloads it onto a number of computer systems, although the software program license states it ought to solely be downloaded as soon as. This usually happens in enterprise or faculty environments and is often achieved to economize. Softlifting is the most typical sort of software program piracy.

Consumer-server overuse

Consumer-server overuse is when too many individuals on a community use one major copy of this system on the identical time. This usually occurs when companies are on a neighborhood space community and obtain the software program for all staff to make use of. This turns into a kind of software program piracy if the license doesn’t entitle you to make use of it a number of instances.

Exhausting disk loading

Exhausting disk loading is a kind of business software program piracy by which somebody buys a authorized model of the software program after which reproduces, copies or installs it onto laptop exhausting disks. The particular person then sells the product. This usually occurs at PC resale retailers and patrons aren’t all the time conscious that the extra software program they’re shopping for is unlawful.


Counterfeiting happens when software program packages are illegally duplicated and offered with the looks of authenticity. Counterfeit software program is often offered at a reduced worth compared to the legit software program.

On-line Piracy

On-line piracy, also called Web piracy, is when unlawful software program is offered, shared or acquired via the Web. That is often achieved via a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing system, which is often discovered within the type of on-line public sale websites and blogs.

graphic showing the dangers of software piracy


When software program is rented, a replica is borrowed for a restricted time with out the copyright proprietor’s consent. Whereas some establishments, resembling libraries and universities, have particular licenses to legally lease software program, renting is towards the phrases of the software program license settlement with out these particular permissions. It’s just like renting a video from Redbox or a streaming platform, making copies of the rented software program and repurposing it for revenue.

OEM Unbundling

Authentic gear producer (OEM) unbundling happens when a person sells standalone packages initially bundled with extra merchandise. That is like when somebody sells you a safety replace individually somewhat than bundling the prices right into a package deal which will embody the replace, buyer assist, file sharing software program, license keys, and extra.

Examples of Software program Piracy

Software program piracy could also be extra frequent than you notice. That will help you perceive how software program piracy works, listed here are some frequent examples:

  • Utilizing cracked or pirated software program downloaded from unauthorized web sites: That is categorised as softlifting as a result of it includes acquiring unauthorized copies of software program with out buying legitimate licenses. Keep away from one of these software program piracy through the use of licensed software program from licensed sources. Determine unauthorized web sites by visiting official vendor websites with critiques and use trusted app shops like Google Play or the Apple App Retailer for downloads. Take into account putting in antivirus software program for added safety.
  • Utilizing key mills or license key cracking instruments to illegally activate software program: Key mills are packages that generate license keys at random utilizing an algorithm. Key cracking instruments take away or modify the software program’s copy safety mechanisms to bypass the right activation processes. That is one other instance of softlifting, and the easiest way to keep away from this situation is by going via the right distributors and checking their on-line websites as a substitute of a third-party resale website. 
  • Sharing software program licenses past their supposed use: Think about a small firm purchases a software program license for a challenge administration device, permitting entry for as much as 10 customers. Nonetheless, because the workload will increase, staff begin sharing login credentials with colleagues past the permitted 10 customers. It is a type of client-server overuse, as extra individuals entry the software program than the license permits. Methods to stop this embody monitoring the variety of logged customers, implementing stronger person authentication strategies and even random audits.  
  • Putting in a single-user license with out correct licensing on a number of computer systems: This instance additionally falls underneath client-server overuse because it includes the improper set up and use of a single-user license on a number of units.
  • Altering software program to disable copy safety mechanisms: That is an instance of exhausting disk loading, when people tamper with software program to take away copy safety mechanisms and illegally distribute it. 
  • Promoting counterfeit software program copies: People promoting unauthorized, pretend copies of software program as real merchandise is an instance of counterfeiting.
  • Unauthorized distribution of proprietary software program: Take into account an individual who obtains an official copy of a well-liked graphic design software program and decides to freely share it on a file-sharing web site. Others obtain and use this unauthorized copy, denying the software program firm potential income and infringing on copyright legal guidelines. It is a basic case of on-line piracy, the place individuals distribute unauthorized copies of proprietary software program over the web.
  • Buying software program with out a legitimate license key or particular authorization: When you receive software program with out a legitimate license, authorization, or particular permissions and try to promote or distribute it, it is a type of renting—identical to copying a video you rented from Amazon Prime and promoting it on-line with out authorization.
  • Promoting the contents of a software program package deal individually somewhat than as a complete: It is a type of OEM unbundling since customers are putting in particular person components of the system as a substitute of all the bundled software program package deal.

Stopping Software program Piracy

There are a lot of methods to guard your self from unintentionally pirating software program and infecting your laptop with malware, together with:

  • Educating your self: Educate your self and others on the significance of authorized software program. Perceive the phrases and circumstances and licensing agreements of the software program you buy. 
  • Checking your license keys: Guarantee you’ve gotten the right license keys and comply with the right protocols when activating your software program. 
  • Buying software program from licensed retailers: Purchase software program solely from credible distributors and shops; keep away from third-party or noncredible sources to make sure you obtain legit merchandise.
  • Utilizing the most recent Wi-Fi safety protocols: Guarantee your router makes use of the most recent software program to stop cybercriminals from breaching your information or infecting your laptop with viruses.
  • Reporting suspicious software program: When you encounter unusual or suspicious software program you consider could also be pirated, report your findings to The Software program Alliance (BSA).

Panda Safety Protects Towards Software program Piracy

Hold your PC safe by solely buying software program from licensed sellers. Pay attention to any software program’s phrases and circumstances — and ensure you agree and cling to their tips. Shield your system from threats or cyberattacks resulting from software program piracy with Panda Safety’s Free Antivirus on your Mac or Home windows units.

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