software piracy | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Software piracy is the unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted software, which is considered a crime under criminal law.

Software piracy is a serious issue that can have significant financial consequences for both software developers and the broader economy. In addition to being illegal, software piracy can lead to lost sales, reduced revenue, and increased costs for software developers, who must spend time and resources developing and distributing their products.

From a criminal law perspective, software piracy is typically prosecuted under laws that protect intellectual property rights, such as copyright laws. Those who engage in software piracy may face criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense and the jurisdiction in which it is prosecuted.

Some common forms of software piracy include using or distributing unauthorized copies of software, selling counterfeit software, and using software without a valid license. In addition to criminal penalties, those who engage in software piracy may also face civil lawsuits and damages, as well as reputational harm.

To combat software piracy, software developers may use measures such as copy protection, digital rights management, and license management systems. These tools are designed to prevent the unauthorized use and distribution of software and to ensure that software developers are fairly compensated for their work.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2023


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