1. What is software "piracy?" Why is it considered a crime?
Software piracy is the unauthorized use, copying or distribution of copyrighted software. It may take many forms, including:
- Unauthorized copying of software programs purchased legitimately, sometimes known as "end-user" piracy
- Gaining illegal access to protected software, also known as "cracking"
- Reproducing and/or distributing counterfeit or otherwise unauthorized software, often over the Internet
Because a software pirate does not have proper permission from the software owner to take or use the software in question, piracy is the equivalent of theft and is, therefore, a crime.
2. What constitutes "unauthorized use"?
When you purchase software, you are actually purchasing a license to use it, not the actual software. The license establishes your rights for using the software. Making or using more copies of the software than the license permits is copyright infringement and is "unauthorized use".
3. My friend gave me some software to copy onto my computer, and now I realize I'm guilty of piracy. What do I do?
If you believe you have inadvertently been involved in the piracy of PTC software, you should nevertheless report the circumstances and obtain a valid license from PTC. Generally, it is not PTC's policy to punish minor or unintentional piracy when the user takes appropriate steps to legalize the use prior to PTC discovering it.
4. If I purchase a single license of a piece of software, can it be loaded onto several machines?
No, this is a form of piracy know as "softlifting". Whether you are sharing with friends or co-workers, or installing the software on a second machine for your own use, it is still a violation of your license agreement and therefore prohibited.
5. Who can be held liable for piracy? What are the penalties?
Anyone who possesses or uses pirated software is potentially liable for piracy. This includes not only the sophisticated commercial counterfeiter, but also an individual user of a single pirated program. Currently, U.S. law provides for civil penalties of up to $150,000 for willful infringement of a software owner's copyright.
6. How can I tell if my software is genuine/authorized?
Your software is genuine/authorized only if you received it from PTC. This will occur if you purchase the license directly from PTC or from a PTC-authorized reseller. If you purchase from a PTC reseller, you will receive from PTC an email with your sales order number and customer number. If you did not receive this at the time of your purchase, it is likely that your software is not genuine/authorized. If you don’t know if you received a sales order number and customer number, you can contact PTC and a sales representative will confirm your information and the status of your licenses.
7. How can I get my software use into compliance?
Getting compliant is easy. Simply contact PTC and a sales representative will help you bring your software into compliance.
8. A lot of companies use resellers and third party distribution channels. How can I tell if a vendor has the legitimate right to sell another company's software?
A comprehensive explanation of PTC's authorized distribution network may be found at PTC's Channel Partner Program site. PTC is constantly adding new resellers and other channel partners, so you should contact PTC if you have any doubt as to the legitimacy of any particular vendor.
9. What are the risks associated with using pirated software?
Unauthorized software may contain malware (viruses, adware, spyware), not work properly or fail entirely. Using pirated software may subject you to fines, negative publicity which will lead to damage to your reputation and possible lost business, civil and even criminal penalties.
10. Why is PTC concerned about stopping piracy?
Ultimately, we are all affected when piracy impacts the pace of innovation and the price of software on the market. More importantly, piracy of PTC software unfairly affects PTC's honest customers who compete against those who have illegally obtained access to PTC products.
11. What does piracy cost?
It is estimated that piracy cost software developers over $58 billion in 2011. Extrapolate this out from the developers and the losses mean billions less in tax revenue for governments, and lost revenue for software resellers and distributors, which translates into less job creation.
12. Why is it so important to report piracy?
Lost revenue due to piracy hampers the ability of companies to enhance products and create new ones. The information provided by individuals who report piracy is a vital part of investigating and thwarting this illegal activity.
13. What do I do if I suspect someone of piracy?
If you suspect that piracy is occurring, whether it is an employer, a web site offering counterfeit software, or otherwise, you should report your suspicions to PTC.
14. After I report the case of piracy, then what happens? Will I have to be involved further?
The information you provide will be reviewed by PTC. The ultimate result in a case may take many forms, including a warning ("cease and desist") letter, direct removal of offending material (as in the case of a web site offering counterfeit software products), civil enforcement proceedings, or referral to law enforcement authorities. Depending on the nature of the case, PTC may ask and may find it helpful to have your continued cooperation in resolving the issue. You have the option to report piracy anonymously if you do not want to be involved further in the matter.