I'm planning to write an article about software-terminology based on software-license in which I also want to include about pirated software which requires clear/exact understanding and meaning of pirated software. So,what is pirated software? Also want to know which term is used for non-pirated software.

  • Is "pirated software" the same as "counterfeit software" said by Microsoft?

If there is other term should be used (or more appropriate/specific) rather than "pirated", then also suggest it. (Is it Genuine?)

  • it means a software supposed you should pay to use it but you didn't, that's is pirated software. I am not posting this as answer because this is a kindly straight forward question. I guess I may misunderstanding your question. – Bilo Mar 9 '16 at 13:03
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    What did your research tell you? What did you find out when you searched for "What is pirated software?". Please read How do I ask a good question?. – DavidPostill Mar 9 '16 at 13:20
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    @Prasanna LMGTFY is explicitly not allowed. – DavidPostill Mar 9 '16 at 13:25
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    @Prasanna meta.superuser.com/questions/5642/… – Raystafarian Mar 9 '16 at 13:26
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    @Pandya So what is unclear about the "this" and "this". What don't you understand? "Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!" from How do I ask a good question? – DavidPostill Mar 9 '16 at 13:27

Pirated software is software that has been copied or distributed for free or at a vastly reduced price against the wishes of the creator.

The term "piracy" comes from the music industry and specifically the illegal broadcasting of music without paying a royalty. In the early 1960s this practise was rife in the UK with entire radio stations being built on ships and sailed out to international waters to broadcast. Famous ones include Radio Caroline and Radio London.

The fact they did this illegal activity on ships is where the association with real pirates came from.

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  • Nice tie-in for the etymology of the term. – Zeiss Ikon Mar 9 '16 at 13:15
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    Not necessarily for free. It used to be commonplace to find pirated versions of Windows for sale much cheaper than the regular retail price. – ChrisInEdmonton Mar 9 '16 at 15:00
  • Fair point, I have amended my statement. – Burgi Mar 9 '16 at 15:03
  • @Burgi "The term "piracy" comes from the music industry and specifically the illegal broadcasting of music without paying a royalty." Small niggle, but broadcasting should probably be "performance" or some such. "Piracy" has been a term associated with performance or reproduction of music (e.g. musicals) since at least the 1800's -- long before "wireless" reproduction methods were available. – Anaksunaman Mar 19 '16 at 5:28

Generally 'pirated' means one or more of the following depending on context:

  • Unlicensed, i.e. the software is being used without paying the developer(s) for a license to use it.
  • Unlawfully distributed, i.e. posted somewhere for people to download (normally for free) without the developer's permission and often with the license keys needed to use it
  • 'Cracked', i.e. someone has altered the software to remove copy protection systems such as the license key check

The opposite of pirated would be normally be 'licensed' or a 'legitimate copy' of the software.

In the case of Windows Microsoft uses the term 'genuine' to refer to legitimately purchased/licensed copies of Windows. As well as general pirating there are also issues with people selling illegal copies of Windows and pretending they are legitimate. This can be counterfeit discs etc. designed to look real or it can be unlicensed copies pre-installed on PC's being sold.

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For USA BSA The Software Alliance defines piracy as a violation of federal copyright law.

This would be any copying, distributing or installation that goes against a software's license.

There is interesting discussion on opensource.SE about copyright vs licensing.

Essentially piracy is just theft.

The Linux Information Project also defines software piracy -

Software piracy is a term that is frequently used to describe the copying or use of computer software in violation of its license (commonly referred to as an end user licensing agreement or EULA).

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A software package is not free licensed and you are using it without paying the author who has copyrighted the package by the means of either cracking the serial key or downloading the ready one from illegal source (ex: Torrent) then you are doing Piracy.

Generally there's a misconception that OS is free :) You might have seen people getting a copy from a friend and install XYZ OS.

Those which are free licensed are not called pirated, also the paid ones are not.

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