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Software Piracy

What is it? It is the unlicensed (and illegal) use of software


These are the five main ways in which people pirate software:

  • Counterfeiting: duplicating and selling unauthorized copies of software
  • Softlifting: the purchasing of a single licensed copy of software and loading it on several machines
  • Hard-disk loading: selling computers pre-loaded with illegal software. In most cases, the PC manufacturer will not supply the media, license agreement, manual or other documentation
  • Bulletin-board piracy: putting software on a bulletin-board service for anyone to copy or copying software from a bulletin-board service which is not shareware or freeware.
  • Software rental: renting of software for temporary use.

Other examples:

  • Under-reporting the installations of software through volume purchase agreements
  • Making additional copies of the software without having the proper number of licenses.
  • Using subscription licensed software past the expiration date
  • The product being offered had previously been used to obtain an upgrade to a newer version

These are just a few examples. There are many more.


  • Bad press
  • Jeopardize the University's enrollment and access to volume licensing programs
  • You/your department will be required to license any unlicensed software.
  • Districts, schools, and individuals can be held liable for up to $100,000 in statutory damages for each copyright violation.
  • Violators can face criminal penalties of as much as $250,000 and jail terms of up to five years, in addition to a civil lawsuit.
  • Violators may be required to pay the software developer’s attorney’s fees.