Risks of Software Piracy

Businesses face legal risks because of software piracy, since a company can be held liable for its employees' actions. If a company has pirated software on its computers or acquires illegal software through the Internet, the company can be sued for copyright infringement.

Microsoft does not authorize any other Web sites to offer downloads of Microsoft software. Some of these counterfeit downloads may include viruses or broken code. The only way to download genuine Microsoft software is through Microsoft.com.

A site offering to let you download $399 software for $79.95is obviously NOT legitimate. Think about this aspect of it: the web site offering that download is selling stolen property...what do you think the web site owners are going to do with YOUR credit card information? Most of those sites are located in Russia or another foreign country and could easily lead to identity theft. Caveat emptor...let the buyer beware!

Software piracy (copyright infringement) comes in many forms, such as making copies for friends, downloading pirated software via the Internet, or buying a single software program or license and then installing it on several of your computers. Making or using unauthorized copies of software is breaking Federallaw in the United States.The copyright owner can sueyou for up to $150,000 for each program copied. Also, the government can prosecute youandyou can be fined up to $250,000, or be sentenced to jail for up to five years, or both.

A Common Excuse forSoftware Piracy

According to the Business Software Alliance, "Thirty-five percent of the world's software is pirated." Per Microsoft, the rate is 21% in the United States.

The most common excuse I hear for not buying legitimate software is, "I cannot afford it." I ask people to think about it this way: if one can afford a nice car,abig house, or fun vacations, is it reasonable to claimthat one cannot afford the software that helps to bring inthe moneyto buy thosethings?

In order to impress upon people the importance of not using pirated software, I usually turn the table and ask them if they would like to workas hard as they do now, but take a 21% pay cut. Or, would you want your employees to sit around doing nothing for 21% of their day and still get paid for a whole day? Most business owners would view that as stealing from the company.

If you make money by using the software or even if you just use it for fun, please be sure to use legitimate software on all of your systems to protect yourself and the software's developers.

Are You Compliant with the Law?

What can you do if you think you may have pirated software on your systems? You can contact us to help you check your systems, or you can go to Microsoft's web site to validate your installation of Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office, which are the two most commonly pirated software applications. You can also go to www.howtotell.com and look at some samples of counterfeit and genuine software. When purchasing software on line, think about the old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." A site offering $399 software for $79.95 to download is probably NOT legitimate.

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