Abiding by Software Copyright Laws

A user may be looking for approval of his/her rationalization from us. This requires us to remind our user community that it is the policy of the IT staff and Devry University to abide by copyright laws.

In an article published in the September 1993 issue of Rochester Institute of Technology ISC News, author Vince Incardona cites ten of the most popular rationalizations for copying software, and provides a straightforward rebuttal for each. The article directly points out that the illegal practice of copying software can jeopardize good vendor relationships and puts your reputation at risk, as well as exposes you to liability. From "the Top Ten Reasons for Illegally Copying Software (and why none of them are good enough)", here are a few of the top reasons for copying and why it shouldn't be done:

  • I didn't copy it - a friend gave it to me. Since illegally copied software is viewed as stolen property, you would be considered just as culpable for receiving illegally copied software as you would be for stealing it in the first place.

  • I bought the software, shouldn't I be able to do what I want with it? What you have purchased is a license to use the software, not the software itself. The license terms are most often defined on the outside of the package. When you break open the package, the law assumes that you have agreed to abide by those terms.

  • I needed it, but the price was unreasonably high. If I have to actually pay for it, there is no way I could ever afford it. Software prices are high for the same reason the price of houses is high: both require a lot of highly skilled labor to create. No matter how sorry a software company may feel about your financial situation, if they want to prosecute people who illegally steal their software, you can expect that they will press charges, and probably win. Their survival may depend on it.

  • It's only illegal if you get caught. Software vendors have formed a group called Software Publishers Association, and the SPA both offers rewards for whistle blowers and conducts covert investigations of software piracy at large organizations. Most of the people who have been caught by an SPA audit never thought that it would happen to them, either.

  • Oh, come on, everyone is doing it. This is by far the number one reason given for illegally copying software. The logic supposedly is that society tacitly approves of the action, even though there are laws against it. Therefore, it is morally defensible, even if it's illegal. This is tantamount to an assertion that you have no will of your own, and that you define right and wrong simply in terms of what you see people around you doing.

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