International Software Piracy Essay

2938 Words 12 Pages
International Software Piracy


The ideas and arguments presented in this paper are provided solely for purposes of academic discussion. The author wishes to make it clear that he neither condones nor promotes software piracy in any form, and that he encourages all software practitioners to familiarize themselves with the relevant intellectual property laws of their respective countries and to adhere to the highest level of ethics in the conduct of their professional duties.

I. Background

Software piracy has been around since the beginnings of personal computing. The first paper tape of a BASIC compiler passed from one hobbyist to another was essentially pirated software, although, at the time, it may not have been
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II. Ethical Issue

Why do global software piracy rates remain so high in every country where information technology is in widespread use? Depending on the country, users of software may not be a large percent of the national population; nonetheless, it is difficult to believe that they form an unrepresentative group where unethical and criminal behavior is concentrated. It is far more likely that the behavior of this group reflects the ethical norms of the population as a whole. Given that this is the case, and the fact that the BSA study[1] shows a piracy rate of 95% for Vietnam, for example, then we must conclude that either 95% of Vietnamese have a criminal or unethical nature, or that a significant percentage of Vietnamese do not regard software piracy as criminal or unethical. There may be multiple reasons for this: cultural, political, economic and personal - that singly, or in aggregate, foster a disconnect between the law and what the people who use software believe, or are encouraged to believe, is fair, or in the best interest of the "common good". These reasons may include: national agendas for economic development, business models that tolerate piracy as a way to increase market-share, individual interpretation of Fair Use, and reaction to monopoly pricing.

III. Ethical Analysis

It would appear, then, that there are some circumstances in which the average computer user judges software piracy to be within the bounds

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