Novell Home

Novell Connection Magazine Home

Pirating Goes By Many Names

Software pirates infringe copyrights in many ways; the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has posted on their Web site a document called What Is Software Piracy: The Piracy Problem which describes ten commonly used methods of infringing copyrights. The following is a simple summary of the items in that list, so check out that document for the full descriptions.

  1. Softlifting When someone buys a single license of a software application and loads it on several machines, they are softlifing. This happens when people "share" software with others who don’t own licenses to use the software. It also happens when you install the software on your home or laptop computers when the license doesn’t allow it to be installed on more than one computer. Softlifting is the type of copyright infringement most often found in businesses.
  2. Unrestricted Client Access When someone owning a single-user license to a software application copies the application onto a network server and others on the network can access it, it’s called Unrestricted Client Access. Single-user licenses usually only allow the application to be installed on a single computer at a time; hence, when more than one person installs the software on an additional computer, it’s breaking the copyright laws and is illegal.
  3. Hard-disk Loading When someone sells computers or hard disks that are preloaded with illegal copies of software, meaning they don’t come with a valid license or registration number to use the software, it’s called hard-disk loading.
  4. OEM Piracy/Unbundling Often, software is bundled with and only sold as part of a package with specific hardware, such as when you buy a new computer, it usually has an operating system preloaded. That software is called original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, software. It can be operating systems, applications and utilities of all kinds. When someone sells OEM software by itself without the specific hardware with which it should be bundled, it’s illegal. In the same way, if an application is supposed to be sold only with another application, it’s called a bundle. When the apps in that bundle are split up and sold separately, it’s called unbundling and is also illegal. Both ways are a breach of the distribution contract between the vendor and the software publisher. If you come across software that is marked as "not for resale," steer clear if it didn’t come in some type of bundle; it probably carries with it a fine if you’re caught using it.
  5. Commercial Use of Noncommercial Software Software publishers often sell educational or commercial-use-restricted versions of their software to various target markets, such as students, at a reduced price. It’s illegal to acquire or use these types of licenses if you’re not a valid member of the target market. For example, if you buy and use an educational version of an application and you’re not a student or employee of an accredited educational institution, you’re breaking the law.
  6. Counterfeiting Counterfeiting is when someone duplicates and sells unauthorized copies of software in a way so the buyer thinks it’s a legal copy authorized by the legal publisher.
  7. CD-R Piracy Making a copy of closed source software using a CD recorder and selling it, or even just e-mailing the application files to someone else that doesn't have a legal license to use the software, is piracy, and thus, illegal.
  8. Internet Piracy When someone uploads commercial software to the Internet that is not freeware or in the public domain, so anybody can copy and use the software, it’s Internet Piracy and this wave is getting bigger all the time. With the growing wave is coming heftier fines, too; so beware.
  9. Manufacturing Plant Sale of Overruns and 'Scraps' Software publishers produce a master copy of their software program and contract with a CD manufacturing plants to produce the vast amounts of copies of the software onto CDs. The copies are then distributed to the vendors in the marketplace to sell to the public. When a CD duplicating plant makes more CDs than it was contracted to make and then sells the extras, or when the contract states that extras will be destroyed, but the plant instead resells those CDs, it’s illegal. Stay away.
  1. Renting You can’t rent software in the US for temporary use, as you can movies because of the Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990, which makes the practice illegal.

Will Turner, the daring blacksmith hoping to rescue Elizabeth from a shipload of pirates who have kidnapped her, teams with Jack in the hopes of finding the pirates' hideout. In joining with a pirate, however, Will quickly realizes his morals are going to be compromised. When Jack recommends using the fastest ship in the British Royal Navy, Will responds, “We're going to steal a ship? That ship?” Jack, in an attempt to rationalize, quickly quips, “Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term.” Software infringement goes by many names, only ten of which are mentioned above. Don't be fooled; no matter what it's called, it's still stealing!

Choose the Right

Help report piracy in the workplace and encourage others you see doing it at home. Don't try to push away your conscience. Elizabeth, hoping to moralize Jack, tells him, “There will come a time when you have a chance to do the right thing.” Jack stubbornly replies, “I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by.” Aid others in making the right decision and protect those that do by reporting cases of piracy.

As Donne said, “No man is an island.” Seldom do those who buy, sell or burn counterfeits do so without anybody knowing; indeed, you usually either have to get the program from someone to make copies of it, or you need buyers that will buy the counterfeit software from you.

Novell is a member of the Software Information Industry Association's (SIIA) Anti-Piracy Program, along with a number of other companies united in helping to prevent software copyright infringement. The SIIA teams with software companies around the world to crack down on pirating. If you have a case you want the SIIA to check out, fill out this online form.


In the words of Jack toward the end of the film, “I think we've all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.” For those who are wondering, we'll make ecumenically the Novell Connection Magazine Vocab Word of the Month. It is an adjective meaning “worldwide or general in extent, influence or application.”

Bet you didn't learn that one in sixth grade. But yes, copyright laws are usually quite ecumenical. Software pirates live everywhere from the US to Ukraine, Brazil to Belgium, Canada to China and South Africa to South Korea. Various organizations are working to protect people, companies, and the marketplace by organizing campaigns. For instance, If you currently live or work in Latin America, you can participate in a program offered by Novell, Campana de Antipiratería para Partners en America Latina, or, Anti-piracy Partners Campaign in Latin America (See A Strong Antipiracy Campaign). Others outside of Latin America can report any other infringement of Novell copyright to

Help the software industry progress around the world by refraining from and cracking down on software copyright infringement. It only takes one to do a lot of damage; but it also only takes one to help. You can assist yourself and others in avoiding litigation in addition to giving yourself one of the best gifts of all—a clear conscience.

© 2015 Micro Focus