Pirating software is a crime that eventually hurts everyone. It starts with sellers and developers, and in the end, it hurts software users themselves. The total amount of money lost to piracy is impossible to calculate, but it’s surely in the billions every year. Between the loss of sales revenue, tax revenue, and the loss of jobs, piracy hurts on every level. Because piracy bites off money that companies should have rightly earned, they have fewer resources available for developing new software. They also have to devote time and effort to protecting their software. That means software piracy holds back the cutting edge and slows down technological progress.
Losing money to pirated software makes the software industry less profitable. This isn’t just a problem for investors and owners in the industry itself. That loss in revenue makes it harder for publishers and developers to engage in research and development or to reduce the price of their products for legitimate users. That means that software piracy, in effect, keeps prices higher than they should be. These are the primary reasons why all of the industries hurt directly by piracy – sellers, developers, and publishers – have taken steps to try and curb it.
People using pirated software are also taking serious risks. Besides breaking the law, people using pirated programs also miss out on some important benefits that legitimate users enjoy. Here’s a brief rundown of the disadvantages of using pirated software:
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* The software might not work properly or even fail entirely
* There’s no access to documentation, training, customer support, updates, or bug fixes
* Pirated software has no warranty protection
* Installing pirated software increases the risk of infecting one’s computer with debilitating viruses and malware
* Pirated software might be out of date, unfinished, or nonfunctional
* Infringing copyrights risks significant fines
* Organizations that use pirated software will be subject to considerable negative publicity if they’re found out.
As noted above, the costs of software piracy are felt by the legitimate end users because they have to pay more for their software than they otherwise would. This is why it’s actually in everyone’s best interests to work together against pirates. Individuals and communities that pirate software or use pirated software should be reported to SIIA.
Pirated software is one of the most dangerous vectors of infection for getting malware and viruses onto computers. The Harrison Group has studied pirated copies of Windows in detail; it found that 24 percent of pirate installs either included malware or downloaded it automatically as soon as they had an internet connection. Even supposedly “clean” pirated software may present a security risk because it’s not supported by the same updates and bug fixes as legitimate software. That means users who employ pirated software are frequently confronted by exploits and security holes that have been resolved in the legal versions of their programs.
Pirated software is more likely to be glitched or bugged than its legally-purchased counterpart. This leads to frustration, lost work, and wasted time. In order to pirate some pieces of software, users have to disable or ignore online features which would significantly improve the software’s functionality. Finally, because they’re not supported by the same “safety net” of warranties and customer service, pirated programs are harder to fix when they have problems.
As soon as you try to install a piece of cracked software you’re exposing yourself to risks. The installation file itself might be nothing more than a malware delivery system. Malware can cause a lot of damage: it can expose your personal or financial information, slow down your computer, or even destroy your files. Identity thieves, in particular, can have a field day with the sensitive information exposed by malware.
Even if a pirated program installs successfully, it may not work for long. A lot of modern programs have features which enable them to verify their legitimacy at a later date. Updating your pirated software could render it nonfunctional. The only solution – disabling updates entirely – will cut you off from important bug fixes and patches that might leave your computer vulnerable to malware exploits.