Software piracy affects everyone. Illegal and improperly used software hurts the economy in general, the software industry specifically and it can cause harm to your computer. Software piracy is also against the law. The software industry is taking steps to curb the problem, and there are many things individuals and businesses can do to help stop software piracy.
Read the End User License Agreement (EULA) for each software product you purchase. The EULA's terms and conditions define how you can legally use the software, how many computers you can install the software on, and whether pr not you can make a backup copy. Most software companies do not allow you to install their software without first accepting their agreement.
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Purchase CD software only from reputable resellers. Check the manufacturer's website to see what kind of authentication markings they include to guarantee that the software is genuine. Microsoft affixes a "Certificate of Authority" label to the outside packaging of their products, and Adobe includes silk-screened artwork along with trademarks, patent information and part numbers on their CDs. Verify your software purchase before making a purchase, and if you have questions, contact the anti-piracy department of the software manufacturer, or the customer service department.
Purchase software downloads directly from the manufacturer's website. Never download software from a peer-to-peer file-sharing site such as Limewire, Kazaa or BearShare, and do not make your software available on these sites.
Register your software to prevent others from attempting to install your software on their computers. Software companies call this "softlifting" and it is a major source of software piracy.
Report piracy if you discover that software you purchased is not authentic or if you suspect that an online reseller or retail establishment is selling counterfeit software. This is the biggest single action anyone can take to stop software piracy.
Create and distribute a software policy statement to all employees. Include clearly written rules defining how employees may and may not use company software. Include an anti-piracy statement that each employee must sign and return.
Learn about the software licenses your company owns, know whether the license allows an employee to install company software on a home computer to work from home, and keep a record of each license cataloged by product name, version number, serial number and a reference to the computers running the software.
Conduct software audits. Require employees to record the product name, version number and serial number for each software product installed on their computers.
Things You'll Need
End user license agreement
Proof of purchase documents
Software policy statement
Software audit forms
It is a good idea when purchasing software to save packaging, receipts and manuals as additional proofs of purchase.
Volume licensing customers can receive assistance from the software manufacturer to create and maintain software audit materials.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse if you are caught committing an act of software piracy.