ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Effects of Software Piracy

Updated on January 9, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Overview

What are the effects of software piracy? The immediate short term effects of software piracy and online intellectual property theft are easily understood. Consumers get products for free and producers don’t get paid. However, there are other consequences that are often overlooked. For example, many pirated versions of software have built in mal-ware, seeking to attract those looking for free software at the price of a hijacked device.

To understand the long term effects of piracy, let’s look at the questions large scale piracy forces companies, producers and programmers to ask – and how they will change in response to the answers.

Software piracy seems to be a cheap way to save on software, but there are negative effects, both short term and long term.
Software piracy seems to be a cheap way to save on software, but there are negative effects, both short term and long term. | Source

How Software Piracy Affects Long Term Industry Activity

Software piracy forces those who hope to profit from software, video games, websites, online publications, blogs and services to ask the following questions and change their business practices as a result.

  • Can you make money from the intellectual property you have produced?

One traditional way of making money from intellectual property was to sell it. Another option was to license it or rent it out to others. When others believe they have a right to what you create, it is hard to sell. It is also hard to make money when others steal it in the belief that you are stealing from them when demanding money for your labor.

  • Can you fight those who are stealing your intellectual property?

One of the pervasive problems in online theft, whether it is digital content such as songs, software or text, is finding the offenders. In some cases, you do not even known it has been stolen until long after the deed was done and they’ve started profiting from it. Having scraped web content removed is a game of whack-a-mole, and that is a challenge with web hosts based in the United States. For web hosts based overseas, you have few avenues to force them to remove your content. And that is assuming they recognize your rights at all.

A partial protection is to move content and services behind a pay wall, such as only offering newspaper articles and video gaming through online portals to users who pay to access it. This makes it harder to steal the content, and some money was made before the product was stolen. The fact that the content or game is not available through the vendor's website is also a flag to honest consumers that it isn't legitimate.

  • Can you prove that it is yours?

Unless you’ve registered a copyright, submitted a patent or otherwise formally published content with your name on it, it is difficult to prove that the content, code or product is indeed yours. Singers and musicians have a stronger case, since their videos and songs sound like a live demonstration. Yet proving that they stole your code and content is difficult if the case relies upon date stamps online or file update information.

  • Can you raise the money to develop your product?

Why develop products that will be stolen, hurting profit margins? Why invest in a product that is easily copied and shared, with consumers who think they have the right to steal products? Even if distribution channels are controlled and revenue received, software piracy seeks popular products to feed to black markets like the Chinese software market may steal it and sell it under a local label, poaching your customers and essentially stealing from your company.

Try raising money for a new company or find the funds to expand an operation and work on the next version of a product when faced with declining revenue and uncertain income streams. This problem is especially critical for the up-starts and newcomers. Large players like Oracle and Microsoft make money in technical support as well as selling software, and they’ll continue making money doing technical support, offering user training and performing software upgrades even if the software sales fall off. New entrants to the market will find it hard to move beyond the killer app developed in spare time on a home PC, because they will have trouble finding investors willing to invest in it.

Because software piracy lowers the potential profit of new game development, one of the long term impacts has been the push for sequels of profitable games or game companies instead of putting the same financial resources into many new gaming start-ups. Subscription based gaming websites are another model increasing in popularity, such as the classic World of Warcraft, the Star Wars based MMORPG and others. Some MMORPGs offer lower levels for free but require payment for higher levels or payment for advantages.

  • If you cannot monetize the project or make a profit, what reason is there to do more or make it better?

When there is little incentive to invest in a product, it is less likely to be developed or improved upon. When there is no return on the cost of coders, testers and developers, there is no reason to pay their salaries and work on the project. The culture of free is destroying the ability of organizations to improve what they have produced or create something even better.

  • Software piracy reinforces the mistaken belief that everything should be free, limiting the opportunities of creators to make money.

Reliance upon advertising revenue for content generates some money but far less than selling a product or service online. Using free samples of music or videos to sell tickets to concerts and shows, but it destroys the ability of those who do not want to travel to make money without the traditional method of touring. Using a blog to promote a book or speaking engagement forces authors to work both online and offline to sell content that could be sold only online more efficiently.

Stealing software code does not mean that software vendors cannot offer patches or technical support for an additional fee, but they are hobbled financially by relying upon secondary revenue streams to make money.

While we may justify software piracy as a cost saving effort, intellectual property theft hurts the individuals and their families who make a living creating the content and software you enjoy.
While we may justify software piracy as a cost saving effort, intellectual property theft hurts the individuals and their families who make a living creating the content and software you enjoy. | Source

Summary

Software piracy steals from those who are working to create code and content, destroying their opportunity to be paid for their work. Software piracy and intellectual property theft hobble future developments because investors and creators do not know if they can make money off of their products.

In the short term, consumers save money due to software piracy, if they do not get infected with malicious software.

In the long term, the quality of free software and content they will see in the future suffers as products for profit are placed behind pay-walls or not developed at all.

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • tamarawilhite profile imageAUTHOR

    Tamara Wilhite 

    23 months ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    lindacee Thank you for voting up my hub.

  • lindacee profile image

    Linda Chechar 

    7 years ago from Arizona

    Voted up and interesting. Piracy on every level infuriates me! As you stated, however, the pervasive thinking is that there is no such thing as intellectual property, whether it be software or even the quality Hubs we produce. That makes it increasingly difficult for those of us who play by the rules. Arrghhh!

  • leahlefler profile image

    Leah Lefler 

    7 years ago from Western New York

    I love your point that software piracy reinforces the idea that everything should be free - the person who put a lot of time and effort into developing the code ends up losing income due to this type of theft. Great hub!

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)