The internet has helped society expand communication and information access to millions of people across the world. However, ever since the internet has become open to commercial and personal use, hackers and viruses have capitalized on computer networks with lacking defenses to cause havoc and steal information. As more and more businesses began to put their proprietary software and products online, the more hackers began launching a form of theft called internet piracy. Its important to understand what internet piracy and why its important to protect personal property from becoming pirated.
Internet piracy refers to the unlawful reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials online. Hackers can capture and replicate everything from complex software to entertainment files, like MP3s, and distribute these files online for free or for a price. Many lay people may remember how the advent of online music helped spawn an era where record labels had to litigate against individual holders of copyrighted infringed MP3 files. This is an example of internet piracy, however, its arguably not the worst kind out there.
Some of the most profitable forms of internet piracy revolve around the use of proprietary software from companies. Hackers are able to take the software from businesses and provide this software for free or for a charge. Many hackers are part of larger businesses that make their profits providing pirated software to vendors or individuals. These businesses conduct all their advertising and commerce online, making it difficult for authorities to find these individuals in the flesh.
What makes internet piracy such a problem is that many individual consumers end up participating in internet piracy without even knowing it. Some of the businesses that sell pirated software do such a good job creating authentic websites that the typical lay person may unknowingly purchase and be using pirated software. This can pose a potential threat for some consumers. Some businesses that profit over pirated software could place malware and viruses in the software, putting many consumer’s computers in danger. At the same time, vendors who provide the authentic software to consumers lose money since their software has been pirated and distributed across the internet. Many up-and-coming firms that want to sell their software to businesses or consumers can be financially devastated by their software pirated.
Although consumers can become more cognizant of where their software comes from and help to choose original software over pirated software, the fact that a business or programmer’s software has been pirated puts that entity in a tough spot. With the essential coding and information related to that software now out in the open, that programmer and business has suddenly lost control over what they own. It is why it is essential for any amateur programmer or small business to put in as much protections as possible for their software.
There is no perfect protection system for all software, but by not putting in as many protections as possible into one’s software, businesses and programmers will face larger risks with their software being pirated. Investments in specific programming coding and licensing will help to track software sales and software activation. Other forms of protection, such as encryption, makes it very difficult for hackers to replicate the software for themselves.
Although these may seem like costs, no programmer or business should go without properly protecting their software from theft. Internet piracy has become its own business and it helps distribute pirated material across the world. It is important to not let one’s work become pirated and its best to invest in safeguards that can minimize the chance someone’s work becomes someone else’s profit.