12-01-2003 software piracy
Q: Why do I have to pay for software? Is it ok to load my software on my friend's computer? It isn't a crime, is it? anonymous
A: There are a lot of people who load unlicensed software on friends computers. They are probably not aware that they are committing a crime. Every software package has a license agreement that describes what you may or may not do with the software product. You need to check the license agreement when you purchase the software to check for limitations.
Some programs called shareware or freeware have relaxed licensing agreements. Shareware is a program that you can load on your system and share with your friends. After a trial period, you are expected to pay for it. Freeware is a program that is free for you to use and distribute to your friends. Even though freeware and shareware has relaxed licensing requirements, most of them specify that you are not allowed to reverse engineer the program. Reverse engineering a program would be determining how the program works and making changes to the behavior of the program. There are many safe sources of shareware and freeware programs on the Internet but keep away from any free versions of popular expensive programs. A "free" version of Microsoft windows from a hacker website is not something that you should load on your system. Companies will not write programs if there is no financial reward. Think about it, would you work on a project for a few months or a year and not expect any type payment? There are a lot of costs associated with developing software. You might think that a software package is expensive but companies are entitled to receive payment for their products. NEWS: There is a new email trojan, Sysbug, circulating on the Internet. Email containing the virus arrives in your mailbox with promises of "interesting" pictures. This one isn't too bad, you have to open the attachment, unzip and execute it to get the virus. Some email viruses only need to be opened and your system is infected. This trojan sets up a backdoor to your system and allows bad guys to have access to your system. Don't get a false sense of security because you have a virus scanner on your system. If the virus is a new one, the virus scanner won't know about it. What is the best way to prevent this problem? Don't even open any suspicious email. TIP: "I received email that looked like a bounced email. I opened the attachment and realized too late that it was a virus." Mike B., Tyngsboro. Watch out for this clever trick to get you to open infected email.