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Counterfeit software


It is the illegal way of copying computer software products. Counterfeit software is also known as copyright infringement of software. Pirated software can look authentic and very similar to the original product. Copied software could involve unauthorized copying and sharing on a DVD or CD and can be made by using a CD burner. Due to the inexpensive of copied software, it is common for people all over the world to buy a pirated product than the original.


Some other types of copied software include:

  • Internet software piracy - When software is copied through the Internet. This usually occurs when two users are sharing files.
  • Softlifting - When a user shares his or her software to another user who does not have legal rights under the EULA. Another way of softlifting is when a user buys software and then sets it up onto different computers. This type is also known as softloading.
  • Corporate software piracy - This happens when corporations lie about the number of software made. Usually, the report is less than the original amount. Another name for CSP is corporate end-user piracy.
  • OEM unbundling - It is commonly known as OEM piracy. It is when the OEM-packaged software is not together with the other included hardware.


A few common scams from counterfeit software are:

  • Distribution from other regions - Copiers can steal software from different regions and sell them elsewhere. Another way is a buyer can buy counterfeit software for cheap and then sell them for a higher cost in order to make profit. For instance, these illegal transactions can be found in Asian countries.
  • Auction Web sites - Counterfeit software can be found on auction Web sites. The prices are usually lower than the original product that can be found in stores
  • Spam e-mail messages - People receive messages about low cost software. The messages provide a link to a site where a buyer can buy the copied software. However, the information that a buyer provides through the site is most likely a victim from credit card theft.


Many countries have copyright laws. However, copyright laws are non-existent to other countries. A seller and a buyer must provide an end-user license agreement (EULA) in order to have a legal possession of the software. The EULA is a contract between a user and a manufacturer of an application or software. It has formal written information, such as restrictions and how the software should be legally used. Generally, all software has a written statement that forbids a user to share the software with another user. The main purpose for a EULA is to protect both the manufacturer and the user from illegal actions or liability. A shorter name for the EULA is user or software license.

The Uniform Information Transactions Act (UCITA), a law from the Uniform Act, states that software producers have the right to close any illegal activities of copied software. This law has been an issue because it does not have sufficient information to cover software operations. People who oppose to the UCITA think that it favors more on the software makers and it limits the protection of buyers.

The effect of counterfeit software has a negative influence on the global economy. For example, people who are involved in counterfeit software actions would get in trouble because they either sell or have bought something illegally. Another example is software companies would have trouble generating business because they would have a hard time selling their own software. A study showed if counterfeit software was avoided, it could create more employment opportunities as well as economic growth.


Microsoft has a tool to identify copied software. A user can do an authenticity check through the Genuine Microsoft Software site. The site is made to help prevent illegal copying actions by counterfeiters and it helps Microsoft protect its intellectual property. It is important to buy software from honest sellers. Avoid buying software that is well below the market price because it is usually copied. Always make sure that all software and hardware are all included and that nothing is missing.



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