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The short answer to this question is NO! It is not OK to make copies of any software – period. It is illegal, immoral, unethical and just plain wrong. This practice hurts a lot of people right in the pocket book. And before you say they won't miss a few bucks, think about this. If it happened to you, that someone stole your work (over and over and over again) and did not pay for it, you would be the first to yell FOUL and want compensation.

Illegally duplicating software and selling it costs the national economy billions of dollars every year. This is not just lost money, it is lost jobs, lost retail dollars and lost government taxes. Taxes that would go back to the community. Sure we all complain about paying taxed to the government, but in the final analysis, we all use the services those tax dollars provide us. And, we are the first to complain when our services are cut back despite the fact that we still pay our taxes. As you can see, illegal software duplication and sales has a much greater impact on the whole economy than just one or two copies swapped and what's the harm!

Another impact that we do not readily see is the reduction of research and development of new technology because the dollars slated for that area are re-assigned to fighting software piracy. Like having a new game or upgrade come out each year? If piracy does not stop, this isn't going to happen as often.

Ok, so you want to help stop piracy, but do not know for sure what a pirated copy of a software program really looks like. That is easy. The quality is bad. It usually does not come with key elements or documentation and the biggest clue is it has no warranty protection or upgrade options.

Using pirated software is just asking for trouble, as many of the pirated copies come with a little something extra – viruses. Viruses that will damage your hard drive or take down your network. Is it worth it? The price you would be paying to have the mess fixed will be equal to or greater than the price you would have paid to get licensed software in the first place.

If pirated software is used in a work setting, it places the whole company at risk for copyright infringement. Imagine the cost of defending that kind of an action when there would be no leg to stand on in the face of proof of them using illegally copied software.

Look for authentic software with a label on it that states it is genuine. For instance, with Microsoft products look for something called the Certificate of Authority. It is not a license, it's just a visual identifier that says whether it's genuine Microsoft software. Other companies have similar kinds of identifiers to let you know your product is OEM (original equipment manufacturer)

While it may be really tempting to take and use a pirated copy of some software that you have been wanting for ages, it is NOT ok to have that copy. The right thing to do is report it. To report pirated software, go online and search for the company site of the original software and let them know the details of what you were offered etc. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. Period!

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