Software Piracy - who is responsible or guilty according to law?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by rabiuls, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. rabiuls

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 18, 2012
    Hello all,

    I need the answer according to law, not emotional or something like that.

    There are mainly two kinds of use of softwares that is assumed as illegal.

    One who have the original license and distributes it among others, which is forbidden according to the license. No doubt, he is doing this against law.

    Another, who is using the license and the software.

    Now, I want to know, is the second group doing illegal thing?

    Because, they are having the license. No matter from where it comes from. They are not to look at the benefit of the software publisher. And can the publisher hold them responsible? There are many counterfeit mobiles from China of branded companies like Nokia or Ipad. Will Nokia hold responsible the buyer of the counterfeit mobile phone? Or should Nokia hold the manufacturer?

    Again, there are many softwares (infringed / license details removed) which does not even have the content of the license agreement or EULA. Those can be installed without clicking "I Agree" button, or in the box where it was supposed to have the license details, is blank. What about this?

    Then there is portable software, doesn't have even the "I Agree" button. What about this?

    Ok, most would say that both are guilty - the spreaders and the users. But is this correct according to the strict law?

    Thank you and best regards.
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    If they (a user) has the license they are covered. Many old computers have the Win XX sticker, if they are running that OS then they are legal. If there is no EULA I would suspect the software is cracked, which very much against the law. Using modified software, even if it were done by somebody else, is a gray area. I would hate to argue it in a court.

    Of course, I am not a lawyer, this is just my opinion. Other opinions will no doubt differ.
  3. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    The piarates Arrrrrr guilty.
    Georacer and ErnieM like this.
  4. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    If a firm purchase one licence for some software. And install it on 10 computers. It will for sure be considered a copyright infringement. If your firm has a site license for some software. But you steal and install this software on your second job. This will also for sure be a copyright infringement. In the first case your firm would be responsible after the law. In the second case the law would go after you. Any cracking or licence tampering is also considered a copyright infringement.
  5. Cliff987

    New Member

    Oct 2, 2012
    Licenses are not a monolithic thing. Each one can be created differently. Many are revocable and many are not transferable.

    Take the license ( yes that's what it is called) you obtain when you have a ticket to go on a commercial air line. It's revokable at the air line's pleasure. Generally they are not transferable. They are issued to a specific person.
    The airline can control who uses the license and whether you get to use it at all.
    Same for concert tickets. It may - or not - be a crime for scalpers to resell them but the concert hall operator's are really in charge of whether the ticket is unique to the individual original purchaser or not.

    Intellectual property licenses (the kind you asked about) are also things that can be shaped in whatever way the property owner deems. So if a piece of software is issued to you , then you can read your license document (the agreement you signed) to see if it is or is not transferable.

    If nothing is mentioned in your agreement then you can probably transfer the license no problem.

    What if you didn't sign any agreement?
    Those agreements that come with a software package that you can't read and agree to until after you purchased it and open the box that purport to dictate terms are generally unenforceable.
    You can't spring an agreement on someone without them actually agreeing to the terms. That's what those silly things attempt to do.
    Worse, they seek to impose contractual terms AFTER the transaction has already taken place and is complete. That sort of thing utterly unenforceable.

    It also bears noting that it seems you have blurred the distinction between criminal conduct which is defined in statutes and the terms of contract between parties to some transaction.
    Just because a thing is against the terms of an agreement has nothing at all to do with whether it is lawful or not.
    The transferability of a license is not something that would be contemplated in a criminal copyright statute. It's a private matter that would be contemplated between the transacting parties.

    If you breech the terms of the agreement that you signed then you can be sued in civil court , but not criminally prosecuted.

    If you have a specific set of facts you can post them and I'll look at them and see if I can help you.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013