We Have Seen the Pirates and They are Us

Have you ever downloaded a document or file illegally?  Count to ten before you reply, and while you’re counting you can check your activities against the list below. It won’t surprise us to hear that you recognize yourself in this picture of transgressions advertent, inadvertent, or flagrant. Show us someone who hasn’t illegally downloaded a copyrighted file, song or document and we’ll show you a saint.

The fact is that not all piracy is committed by hardened criminals.  In fact, most of the perpetrators are ordinary people like you and me. Indeed, the majority are you and me.



Types of Piracy

1. Softlifting: Purchasing a single licensed copy of software and loading it onto several computers contrary to the license terms. For example, sharing software with friends, co-workers and others.

2. Uploading and downloading: making unauthorized copies of copyrighted software available to end users connected by modem to online service providers and/or the Internet.

3. Software counterfeiting: illegally duplicating and selling copyrighted software in a form designed to make it appear legitimate

4. OEM unbundling: selling standalone software that was intended to be bundled with specific accompanying hardware

5. Hard disk loading: installing unauthorized copies of software onto the hard disks of personal computers, often as an incentive for the end user to buy the hardware from that particular hardware dealer

6. Renting: unauthorized selling of software for temporary use, as you would a video.

Richard Curtis and Anthony Damasco

For a complete archive of E-Reads postings on piracy, visit Pirate Central.


4 Responses to We Have Seen the Pirates and They are Us

  1. Rowena Cherry says:

    Softlifting is a “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell” type issues. As long as this type of sharing is kept completely private, and isn’t picked up in a Google Alert, it’s not likely to get anyone in trouble.

    That doesn’t mean that it is legal. But, it may be on a level with scrumping low hanging fruit.

    What happens when it is part of the business model, and is a selling point for a product, Richard?

    Isn’t “Softlifting” exactly what Amazon appears to be doing with its sharing program, and other e-reader retailers appear to be following suit?

    If “softlifting” is piracy, does that make Amazon a pirate?
    Just asking.

  2. ebookerz says:

    Well, you got me convicted right there. Guilty of “Softlifting” one time or the other.

    But to comment on Rowenas question: What a book-vendor is allowed to do with the books he sells will depend on negotiations with the publishers.

    Would be interested to know whether Amazon has actually gotten approvals from all publishers involved…

  3. Rowena Cherry says:

    I heard not, but one cannot always believe what one is told.

  4. Rowena Cherry says:


    I think your list may have missed something. What about those who take a certain unscrupulous pirate group’s advice “…PLUS; as a Premium Member, you can MAKE MONEY by sharing your links with friends etc!”

    Making money from copyright infringement without actually selling the illegal copies, and without actually transmitting the files is a growing problem.

    The copyright infringing site has its home in a Yahoo Group and one of its venues is a GOOOGLE-powered site.

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