The federal copyright © law states quite simply that it is illegal to make a copy of
software for any reason without permission from the copyright holder. If you are an
individual or small business, it is unlikely that the piracy police will show up on your
doorstep. Since resources are limited, investigation and enforcement efforts have been
historically targeted towards institutional offenders.
Regardless whether you are an individual or an institution, copying or sharing
licensed software amounts to stealing. Participating in piracy takes billions of dollars
away from the industry and the consumer will bear the eventual burden as software prices
rise to fight off thieves. In addition, pirated software leads to lack of technical support,
and an inability to upgrade.
In order to insure compliance with the law, buy software from legitimate software
Retailers only. Be sure your software comes sealed, with a licensing agreement and original manuals. Always send in your product registration card.
If your software came pre-loaded on your hard-disk, check to be sure that you have licensing agreements, and original manuals for all software. Only if a special agreement exists between the hardware and software manufacturer, should you have anything but original software and manuals.
If you are a small business, you should have a software management program in place to insure that all running program copies are legitimate and licensed according to the manufacturer. Beware of the disgruntled employee! This is the largest source of piracy complaints against businesses. You can contact the Business Software Alliance or the Software Publishers Association for guidelines in setting up such programs.