Since computer terminology can often be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to understanding the world of personal computers,I've tried to make things a bit easier by defining new terms at the beginning of the chapter in they first appear

Thursday, 26 January 2012


No issue is as confusing, perplexing, or as potentially explosive as copying software. Since the inception of the Xerox machine our society has grown increasingly copy oriented. From making photocopies of books and magazines to taping record albums, live broadcasts, and movies, people have come to believe they have a right to reproduce things whenever they choose to. This same belief carries over to computer software, and personal computers make copying such materials an easy task. The copying of software is a gray area for Marty people and organizations, particularly for those just getting started. People sometimes confuse legal rulings that uphold the right to copy things in the public domain for private use with the right to copy and use software. The software industry itself adds to this uncertainty by pushing products that may or may not be copy-protected, and by the marketing of site licenses. The copyright law governing software is specific. Unless otherwise specified or agreed to by the developer or manufacturer, the purchaser is entitled to make one backup copy, or to copy the program onto a hard disk. While that might seem straightforward enough, illegal copying of software has developed into a problem of major proportions that is costing software manufacturers millions of dollars of lost revenues. The biggest culprits? Individual users in business, industry, and government. Copying software Is a fairly simple thing to do, particularly when using a dual disk-drive system. Just turn the system on, put the diskette containing the software to he copied in one drive, a blank formatted diskette in 11w other, and when the prompt appears (a>) type: ‘‘disk copy a: h:’’ and press the enter key. A few moments later you have an exact duplicate of the original. This is such an easy process that in half an hour one employee can probably make enough copies of a software package to meet the needs of 20 or 30 other people. In fact,, this is exactly what is happening in a lot of organizations. In many cases, employees are also making copies for their own private use. A study conducted by Future Computing and reported in the August 1965 Information Center Magazine suggests that there is one pirated copy of business software in use for every one authorized by the software developer. The study estimates that this cost manufacturers $1.3 billion in lost sales between 1981 and 1984. Other industry analysts believe this to be a conservative estimate, and set the rate of piracy considerably higher. Issues in Personal Computing, As might be expected, software companies are reacting strongly to this illegal use of their products, and rhetoric is giving way to action both in the courts and sometimes through the merchandise itself. In the latter case, some manufacturers are threatening to program “worms” into their software that would be activated if the original program diskette is copied more than once. When transferred to a pirated version, these worms randomly destroy whatever data they come into contact with. This is a very controversial step, and has drawn fire from many business and government quarters. These groups point out that a lot of things can happen to affect the original copy. It can, for example, be erased from a hard disk, copied over if stored on a diskette, or destroyed if the diskette isn’t properly handled. The prospect of not having a ready and reliable backup source doesn’t appeal to many of them. This leaves litigation as the most viable source of action, and many software companies are taking full advantage of the legal options afforded them.
For example:
Lotus Development Corporation sued the Rixon Corporation for $10 million in damages. Lotus charged Rixon with making at least 13 copies of their popular spreadsheet package and distributing them to branch offices. The case was settled out of court. Since this case, Lotus has brought suit against numerous other organizations, with several additional settlements. The Association for Data Processing Service Organizations (ADAPSO) brought suit on behalf of several software manufacturers against American Brands and Wilson Jones Company for unauthorized copying. The tough stance taken by Lotus and ADAPSO can be expected to spread throughout the industry, and could cost offending companies a lot of money if their employees get caught making illegal copies. Ignorance of such activities is not holding up well as a defense either, as several courts have held management responsible for illegal copies made by employees, even though the companies had no knowledge of their employees’ activities. A number of civil penalties can be imposed in these cases, including judgments for lost sales, royalties, or profits. Additional damages, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees, can be added on top of the original judgment, and some states have enacted fines and penalties that can also be imposed. Criminal penalties may also be imposed for those making illegal copies for profit.
 Essentially, the courts are being asked to answer two questions:
I. What rights, and responsibilities do users have?
2. To what extent do users; have to follow the terms of the licensing agreements that come with most software packages?
As software developers push their cases in the courts, the general trend seems to be holding for allowing only one backup copy. The landmark Supreme Court case of Sony Corporation of America vs. Universal City Studios (457 U.S. 116), is often held up as a defense against litigation brought by developers. In that 1984 ruling, the court held that copying television programs for private home use was legal because it made “fair use” of copyrights. Lower courts have tended to discount this in cases involving Computer Software, because companies that make copies for their own internal use are generally involved in profit making activities, which could have an adverse effect on the overall market of liar software. The other words, it wouldn’t be a fair use of the software program. This places companies in a rather awkward situation as more and more personal computers are brought into the American workplace. Increased numbers means a greater risk of increased copying. One Houston-based company discovered that 80 of 120 systems it owned had software installed that wasn’t authorized for use. Their internal audit uncovered some 18 different software packages that had been purchased, installed, and copied by employees. By and large, however, most of these suits and other actions have don't little to curl’ software piracy. This has led to another approach by some developers, the use of site licenses. Essentially, a site license authorizes a user to make as many copies of a particular software product as are needed in return for one large copyright payment.
Employee education about the copyright protections extended to computer software is generally conceded to be an important starting place in the fight against piracy, and should certainly be included in training programs for every level of employee.
Many companies also require employees to sign statements that they are aware of the copyright provisions for software, and promise not to violate them. While these statements have yet to be tested in the courts, their use has been cited as evidence that companies are becoming more responsive to the problem.

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