Commercial software for the Apple Macintosh computer can often carry a very high price tag, but users can often download trial versions for free. With a special software package known as Serial Box, though, savvy users can obtain a serial number that cracks trial software for conversion to a fully functional commercial package.
To use Serial Box, users must have Apple OS X software, a trial version of a commercial application and either access to the Internet or a copy of the Serial Box software. Users begin cracking software by using a trial version of the desired software, then following the software's registration process. Instead of providing a serial number from the software's manufacturer, though, users launch the Serial Box application and scroll through a list of available registration numbers to find the appropriate product. By plugging this number into the trial application, users unlock the software's full commercial functionality.
Serial Box works on the premise that software programmers provide a finite number of valid serial numbers that convert trial packages to fully functional commercial versions. If the trial version is a distinct software package from the commercial version and users must purchase the full version separately, though, Serial Box will not work. Some software, too, uses the Internet to register a used serial number with the programmer's website, making that serial number invalid and defeating user attempts at cracking with Serial Box.
Users may legally download and possess a copy of Serial Box, but using the application may constitute a serious criminal offense. According to the software website Scholar Ware, using applications such as Serial Box to obtain commercial software for free equate to software piracy. Under United States law as of October 2011, piracy penalties can include years of prison time and fines that reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, software manufacturers may pursue civil charges for copyright violation when users crack software, and these charges can amount to hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in legal costs and penalties. The American Society for International Law points out that international regulations on software piracy are somewhat less clear, though.
In addition to legal complications, Serial Box users must keep a number of other considerations in mind. When using an unauthorized serial number, users risk having the software cease to work if someone else registers the software using the same number. Some serial numbers may not work at all, and those that do may only work for a limited number of days or uses. Because Serial Box is designed and maintained by computer hackers, too, users risk contracting viruses and other undesirable software when downloading and using the Serial Box package.