Software Piracy

Software Piracy

Martin Harran (Computer Science Department, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland), Nigel McKelvey (Computer Science Department, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland), Kevin Curran (School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland) and Nadarajah Subaginy (School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch143
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Background

Italy has traditionally suffered from a perception by the rest of Europe that it is a country of somewhat dubious business practices yet the reality is that Italy has some of the strongest controls in place for managing and controlling business ethics.

Scholtens and Dam (2007) analysed 24 countries around the world on five attributes of business ethics. Results, as summarised in Figure 1, reveal that Italy had a performance around or above the overall average in all of the attributes and on four of them, Italy outperformed both Ireland and the UK. Human rights policies was the exception

Figure 1.

Mean Score of firms in the 24 countries on the five attributes of business ethics (Scholtens & Dam, 2007)

Despite this seemingly credible performance, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in 2010 published a special 301 report that identified Italy as one of the worst offenders in Europe in regard to copyright infringement and deliberate piracy, both physical and electronic with digital piracy quoted at 23%, well above the European average and placed Italy on their ‘watch list’ where it remains to the present day. In confirmation of the IIPA conclusions, the BSA 2011 survey showed Italy to have a 48% software piracy rate1 compared to 34% in Ireland and 26% in the UK.

So why is there such a disparity in Italy against regulation and actual practice and is this peculiar to Italy or is it just a particularly extreme example of more general human behaviour? It might perhaps be useful to leave software piracy aside for a moment and look at some other less technological issues.

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Drinking, Driving, Smoking, And Fiddling Expenses

There seems to be a fundamental social attitude that although legislation is necessary to provide order to society, it is regarded as acceptable to ignore such legislation provided that the breach is not excessive and is not perceived as likely to cause immediate harm. For example, the general speed limit on Irish roads is 100 km/h. Even though any speed in excess of that is strictly illegal, few people seem likely to regard 110 km/h as anything to get concerned about and such a speed is unlikely to result in any prosecution. A motorist travelling at 200 km/h on an Irish road, however, is likely to attract public opprobrium, will certainly attract police attention and, if caught, will almost definitely suffer prosecution and severe punishment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cloud Computing: A new supplement, consumption, and delivery model for IT services based on Internet protocols, and it typically involves provisioning of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources.

Piracy: The act of illegally using, copying or distributing software without purchasing the software or having the legal rights. The majority of software purchased today is purchased as a one-site license, meaning that only one computer may have that software installed on it at one time. Copying software to multiple computers or sharing it with friends without multiple licenses is illegal and is considered software piracy.

Software Licence: A legal instrument (usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material) governing the use or redistribution of software. For instance, under US copyright law all software is copyright protected, except material in the public domain. A typical software license grants an end-user permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright law.

Router: A device or setup that finds the best route between any two networks, even if there are several networks to traverse. Like bridges, remote sites can be connected using routers over dedicated or switched lines to create WANs.

World Wide Web: a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them via hyperlinks.

Bandwidth: The amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another, usually between a Web server and a Web Browser; it is a measure of the range of frequencies a transmitted signal occupies. In digital systems, bandwidth is the data speed in bits per second. In analog systems, bandwidth is measured in terms of the difference between the highest-frequency signal component and the lowest-frequency signal component.

Quality of Service: A measure of network performance that reflects the network's transmission quality and service availability. QoS can come in the form of traffic policy in which the transmission rates are limited which guarantees a certain amount of bandwidth will be available to applications.

Universal Resource Identifier (URI): The string (often starting with http) comprises a name or address that can be used to refer to a resource. It is a fundamental component of the World Wide Web.

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