What is Piracy?
A number of activities can fall within the term “software piracy” – these activities include illegal copying of programs, counterfeiting and distributing software. Even sharing software between friends or associates can amount to software piracy.
A worldwide study launched in 2001 by the Business Software Alliance on business software piracy showed that in 2011:
- The world piracy rate increased to 42%
- an estimated US$63.4 billion was lost due to piracy by region, Central & Eastern Europe has the highest piracy rate at 63%
- Piracy rates in the emerging markets (68%) are significantly greater than in mature markets (24%)
The impact of software piracy
Put simply – software piracy is a form of theft, and like theft in the conventional sense, it has a flow-on effect to the rest of the community. Software piracy impacts different stakeholders:
- Consumers, especially those who rely on the software to run their business and/or earn their livelihood are put at risk with the potential of unreliable software which may contain bugs or viruses (and which can impact the network), and such software often lacks key features, documentation or upgrade options
- The software manufacturer/distributor is economically impacted in a huge way, having borne the large cost of developing what it believes to be a marketable and important business solution, only to have disreputable people and companies undermine its ability to seek a return on this huge investment. The software manufacturer/distributor is the one paying the taxes and providing jobs and wages to a legitimate workforce, and it never receives any funds from the sale of counterfeit software
- The software industry and the community at large is impacted when the legitimate businesses lose revenue which then leads to layoffs for workers in related industries, from manufacturers to resellers
Knowingly using pirated software can put you or your company at risk.
Many people may think that using pirated software in their business is a way of saving the business money, and that it is unlikely that they will ever be found out. However, the following are risks which need to be considered if pirated software is used, and could result in the business paying far more than the cost of the software:
- In the event that it is discovered that your business is using pirated software, the fines for infringement of copyright and the consequent legal costs for defending any action can be significant;
- In the event that the media picks up on copyright infringement by your business, this can have a significant impact on your business’s reputation and how your business is view by others;
- Because pirated software is an “unknown quantity”, it is unsafe to assume that this software will be compatible with other software which you used. Similarly, you will not be able to receive technical support or there is the possibility that pirated software will not be able to be upgraded. For these reasons, your company is at risk of business interruption and down-time.
Who will ever find out that you are using pirated software?
Whilst it is true that there are no software pirating police out on patrol, don’t think that you won’t get caught. If you choose to use pirated software, you may be found out in many different ways. If you choose to sell your business at some point in the future, it is likely that the party proposing to buy will, as part of the purchase enquiries, seek to see proof of purchase of the software. Similarly, your accountant may also become privy to your use of pirated software if he/she is engaged to assist you. There are other ways, which for obvious reasons we are unable to disclose, that can alert us to the use of pirated software.
What will Reckon do if it discovers that pirated software is being used?
Reckon, in conjunction with the intellectual property owner of the QuickBooks software, Intuit Inc., will use the full force of the available law and take all such action as is necessary to prosecute for an infringement of copyright and any other intellectual property rights. Reckon and Intuit Inc. spend many millions of dollars each year in the development of software. For this reason, this asset needs to be strictly protected. The cost of any such legal action taken by Reckon or Intuit Inc. is very small compared with the very large development costs.
What can you do to look out for pirated software?
If you think you have bought software that it is so cheap, it seems too good to be true, it more than likely is too good to be true. The following may assist in identifying pirated software:
- Products which do not come with user manuals
- Products which have no packaging
- Handwritten labels on CDs or disks
- Products bought from places any other than a reputable software dealer, such as market stalls
Only buy Reckon software from a reputable software dealer or direct from Reckon or by telephoning 0800 447 292.