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How are businesses impacted or affected by pirate websites?

October 11, 2019

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How are businesses impacted or affected by pirate websites?

Piracy is a form of theft. The pirates of old boarded merchant ships and took whatever they pleased. In modern parlance, though, piracy usually refers to theft of intellectual property. This includes all types of digital materials, such as illegally copied software programs, ebooks, movies and music.
The impact of piracy on businesses can be substantial, both on the intellectual property owner who loses income and on the distributors and users of pirated materials.
The Effects of Software Piracy:
A common view of software piracy portrays piracy as downloading commercial programs without payment, possibly from sketchy websites filled with viruses. In fact, illegal downloads cover only one angle of piracy. Buying duplicated copies of a program or sharing a program with a friend can count as piracy, as installing a program on multiple computers simultaneously often violates the program's license agreement. Whether performed on an individual scale or across a huge corporation, using unlicensed or improperly licensed programs can lead to civil or criminal punishment for copyright infringement.

Security Risks

Pirated software can carry viruses and other types of malware that infect computers. According to the Harrison Group, 24 percent of pirated copies of Windows were either infected or they automatically downloaded malware as soon as they connected to the Internet. Even if a piece of pirated software isn't infected itself, it can pose a security risk through a lack of updates: Some copies of pirated software can't update properly, leading users to continue using old versions with security holes.

Productivity Risks

Aside from security holes, using outdated pirated software can cause users to encounter bugs and glitches, leading to lost work, lost time and frustration. The hacks used to run pirated software can also interfere with software operation, such as preventing a program from accessing online features in order to avoid detection. In addition to problems with the software itself, pirated programs lack a warranty and access to customer support, making it more difficult to get help when problems occur.

Legal Risks

Using pirated software carries high penalties under copyright law for users caught in the act. In the United States, copyright infringement can lead to up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. The owner of the software's copyright can also sue for damages, which can run as high as $150,000 per copy. Although the idea of software piracy might evoke an image of an a home computer user, piracy often occurs in businesses, putting entire companies at legal risk. Even the U.S. Army was caught in 2013 for using over $180 million in pirated software, costing it a $50 million settlement. If you know a company is using pirated software, you can report the crime anonymously to an industry association, such as BSA or The Software & Information Industry Association.

Economic Risks

Pirated software takes away sales of legitimate software. According to BSA, piracy in 2011 was responsible for illegally sharing $9.7 billion worth of software in the United States. Aside from the obvious effect on software development companies, piracy also harms businesses completely outside the software industry: A 2011 study by Keystone Strategy found that law-abiding companies are put at a $8.2 billion disadvantage over the course of five years, due to other companies' willingness to pirate software to save money.

The Disadvantages of Software Piracy

Software piracy is the unauthorized installation or illegal copying of software. It affects everyone. Prices for software increase, because developers need to make a living. People who work with software also charge more to pay for the extra costs. These costs are passed on to the public, which pays more to benefit from what the software produces.


Software piracy is stealing. You are taking the product of another person without acknowledgment, permission or payment. The maximum penalties are 250,000 dollars in fines and up to five years in prison. Ignorance is not a excuse.

Expenses Passed Along

Piracy is unfair to your neighbor. Someone has to pay for software, and it is the honest person who pays extra for everyone who copies software illegally. According to a study, back in 2001, software companies lost 11 billion dollars in revenue and approximately 40 percent of business software was pirated.


We all have a responsibility to say no to software piracy. Buy only legal copies of software with serial numbers. Install the software on only one machine, unless you have multiple licenses. Educate yourself and others.
We also need more attention from Google, which holds a monopoly on the internet search market. Currently, Google will flag pirate sites after thousands of downloads or complaints. But, they make no effort to favor authorized copyright holders or trusted sources in their algorithm. Instead, Google crawls the Pirate Bay and other known copyright thieves every day to ensure that content can be found. Google enables this game of whack-a-mole that places a huge, unreasonable burden on the copyright holder. Google works with many of our members to take down pirated content, but they can and should do more.
The same holds true for Facebook. Content creators don’t have visibility into these platforms to see where their content is being shared illegally. Google and Facebook collectively act as a duopoly, sharing as much as 99% of the growth in advertising last quarter. At the same time, the platforms are slow to adopt measures to combat fraud or even provide more transparency to protect the content ecosystem. More can be done to ensure that valuable content isn’t illegally streamed

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