Since there are several ways in which software piracy is done, the best way to determine whether software is pirated or not is to check whether the developer has received compensation.
There are several consequences of software piracy. Primarily three kinds of people are adversely affected: the developers, consumers, and the resellers.
- Consumers sometimes opt for pirated versions because it comes at a lower price. However, in the long run, installing these may be more expensive because one can never be sure if the software is defective or infected. Moreover, those who deal in illegal versions do not usually provide technical support. Furthermore, the documentation that comes with the non-pirated versions is often inadequate. This means that consumers cannot enjoy all the benefits of the package. They also do not get the upgrades that are released from time to time.
- Developers lose out on money not only on a product that is pirated but also on the products that they intend to develop in the future. This stifles the growth of the software development company and hinders the development of the industry in general.
One of the most popular forms of piracy is the use of one registered package on different systems. Another form of end user piracy is hacking into the software to disable the copy protection mechanism.
Resellers often pre-load several systems with one package and do not provide the diskettes or manuals that come with the registered versions. Many customers are not tech-savvy enough to ask for the CD’s that are usually given with legal software and therefore allow the reseller to keep their installation diskettes.
If you are not given proper documents and installation diskettes when you buy your computer, you can be pretty sure that you have been sold something that is pirated.