Essay on Copyright Infringement of Software and Software Piracy

Submitted By Stephanie-Crowe
Words: 1756
Pages: 8

The Global Economy and Software Piracy
Stephanie Crowe
CS300T 17970 Computers In Society
Kurt Maly
October 17, 2013

Software piracy is the unauthorized copying or usage of copyrighted software, and in 2011 the market of pirated software grew to a record 63 billion dollars in commercial value, and 57% of computer users self-reported that they used pirated software in a recent survey conducted by Business Software Alliance. The study also found that most piracy occurs in countries with emerging economies and that young males are the largest consumers of pirated software (http://globalstudy.bsa.org/2011/). As software piracy continues to increase at an alarming rate, a need exists to ensure that copyrighted material is used and distributed appropriately over the Internet in order to to gain the maximum economic benefit of the use and distribution of the software. Currently there are two leading technologies used to protect software - encryption and digital watermarking (Bentian, Long, Kai, 2012). Encryption is a powerful tool to fight piracy, but can only be used during the distribution process, and digital watermarking does not trace a purchase of unlicensed software to an original buyer (Bentian, Long, Kai, 2012). Software piracy could be eliminated in the future by the addition of digital fingerprinting to track software piracy to a specific person -“digital fingerprinting technology has been developed to track the customers who use their received multimedia content for unintended purposes, where a unique serial number called digital fingerprint is embedded into each distributed copy invisibly” (Bentian, Long, Kai, 2012).
A new BSA study shows that using licensed software contributes three times more to a nation’s economy than pirated software, which could make a large difference in the emerging economies that are using pirated software at an alarming rate . The study shows that “value-added services delivered with properly licensed software help firms to reduce costs and increase investment” and that nations with struggling economies could use the money generated by licensed software to build their national economies . The study suggests that governments must establish and enforce strong laws to protect software from piracy and raise public awareness of the risks associated with software piracy and the benefits of using licensed software (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/properly-licensed-software-contributes-three-times-more-to-national-economies-than-pirated-software-new-bsa-study-finds-208257621.html). In the article “Expanding the Frontiers of our Digital Future: Reducing Software Piracy to Accelerate
Economic Benefits” authors Beth Scott and Duncan Brown detail how the growth of the software sector could provide large economic growth for the global economy by providing jobs, producing taxes, and capital gains - but due to piracy the potential economic growth has not been met. The article explains the importance of the growth of the software industry to the global Information Technology (IT) market, as the software industry will “create new jobs and new companies at a faster rate than any other segment of the IT sector” and explains the great benefits of reducing software piracy in order to gain the full potential of the market’s growth (Scott, Brown 2006). The authors explain the unique ability of the IT sector to grow faster and create higher paying jobs than any other industry, and how the software industry has a ripple effect on the rest of the traditional industries like publishing and telecommunications as it changes these industries with new innovations (Scott, Brown 2006). The article claims that a nation’s piracy rate has an inverse relationship on the amount of its IT sector’s contribution to the GDP - so the higher the rate of the piracy in a country - the lower the economic benefits of the IT sector are to the economy in that country (Scott, Brown 2006).
The future societal…