But the practice of “cracking” software and sharing and copying licenses across multiple computers is a common one. Even hosting these assets on a website or commercial service, and allowing them to be downloaded, free of charge, is considered unlawful. Companies big and small have suffered great losses, and have experienced declines in their profitability due to these sorts of practices. Software piracy often results in fewer resources for research and development (R&D) and the stemming of new products.
Developers and publishers have taken serious actions of late to help curb the epidemic of software piracy, as the practice itself is correlates to many facets of cybersecurity. Not only are the costs of software theft passed along to consumers, but vulnerabilities in any software product puts users at risk. If a software program can be pirated, there’s also a good chance that it become infected with malicious code which can damage the computer on which it is installed. In fact, studies show that some pirated software is actually distributed with malware.
This means that as soon as you download and install these programs, you run the risk of compromising your entire system. A consumer would make out better by just paying for a software license, as many vendors offer technical support and free upgrades and patches for whole version numbers (i.e., version 1.0 – 1.x). This leads to another pitfall of software piracy: The absence of critical updates.
Cracked software may often impede its own intended behavior—particularly when it comes to avoiding detection of piracy. But this also comes with an array of bugs and glitches. Apart from the fact that software piracy puts your own work at risk, you could also be jeopardizing your data and sensitive information, depending on the scope of the application.
Though individuals and small businesses are often constrained by their budgets, software piracy should be avoided at all costs. Violation of United States Copyright Law, also known as the Copyright Act of 1976, is usually accompanied with hefty monetary penalties whether an author files suit or not. The users of pirated software risk their reputation and freedom, and businesses, which may be seeking ways to cut costs, risk their customer’s data and other valuable assets. Software piracy ultimately affects everyone negatively.
Today, cloud computing has revolutionized the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry, contributing to a decline in modern software piracy. This business model is often subscription-based, offering web access to in-demand productivity software on a monthly basis. The results are fees that most people can afford, ongoing revenue for investment in new product offerings, and stable software that’s centrally hosted and protected. Users, in turn, gain access to customer support, critical updates and technical documentation, while avoiding the risk of malware and consequential software bugs.