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The Importance of Computer Ethics and Software Piracy's Effects

written by: Ravneet Kaur•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 1/29/2011

Everybody talks of ethics, but computer ethics is a comparatively new term which is fast becoming widely popular because of the large-scale software piracy spree. In today’s world of hackers and pirates, all of us are somehow involved in the dirty business of software piracy. How? Read further…

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    What are Computer Ethics?

    If you think that ethics are all about living a more moral and principled life, you must practice the same everywhere, even in the computer field, where sooner or later, you would face a dilemma concerning software piracy. When we talk about computer ethics, software piracy reflects in our minds first of all, followed by pornography, spamming, unauthorized access to somebody else’s computer, and hacking. So what are computer ethics? Much like the moral code of conduct in routine matters, computer ethics deal with the conduct shown by computer professionals and common computer users in operating computers and the internet. Computer ethics, also known as information technology ethics, deal with the moral and ethical use of computer applications, software, and data storage devices.

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    Understanding Importance of Computer Ethics and Software Piracy Protection

    Computer ethics are increasingly becoming important because of the rising number of cyber crime issues, including software piracy, unauthorized access, pornography, spamming, target marketing, and hacking. The widespread popularity and use of the Internet has given rise to a number of cybercrime issues and concerns about user privacy. Various computing applications are tampered with to invade into other’s privacy. Malware, spyware, freeware, and browser cookie exploits are some of the notorious computing applications that have spurred the debate of importance of ethical behavior in technology.

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    What is Software Piracy?

    The duplication of or unauthorized access to computer applications and programs is one of the most pressing computer ethical concerns these days. Commonly known as software piracy, it is the illegal duplication and distribution of software or computer programs and is related to copyright infringement or violation. Also deemed as an illegal trade, the business of software piracy is booming, thanks to our misunderstanding of computer ethics.

    In simple terms, software piracy is:

    • Illegally using the copy of a single-licensed version.
    • Cloning a computer application or copyrighted software.
    • Illegally generating a registration key, thus turning an evaluation version into a licensed version.
    • Illegally uploading a licensed version of a computer application on the World Wide Web to make it easily accessible for downloading.

    Do you know how much effort and time computer professionals put into developing a piece of software? Do you know when you buy a piece of copied software in the market or download it illegally, it is an offense? Doing this, you are committing a felony and working against computer ethics and marginalizing the hard work, efforts, and time put in developing computer applications. This is a kind of discouragement for the computer fraternity, which discourages them and denies them the fair payment they so readily deserve. This can even scuttle the growth of the flourishing world of information technology. Is it not our moral responsibility to prevent the loss of revenue to the creators of various computer applications? But, how?

    There are copyright laws governing the protection of illegal copying and duplication of software. We must realize the importance of computer ethics and software piracy protection by preventing the unethical business of software hackers and pirates from proliferating. It becomes our moral responsibility to check software piracy and learn the importance of computer ethics.

    Let us shun our habit of taking the virtual world less serious than the real world and use technology constructively. The computer is a great invention and we must understand the importance of computer ethics and software piracy protection to enjoy the benefits of information technology and not let any kind of software piracy proliferate.

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    References

    1. Developer Resource: What is Software Piracy

    2. Piotech: Learning the Importance of Computer Ethics