This project highlights the problem of software piracy in Ireland and world-wide, it examines the extent of the problem and what can be done to try and stop it. It also contains new research which the author conducted to gain a more detailed analysis of the problem in Ireland.
The pirating of software is a problem which effects governments, the software industry and end users. It hinders cheaper prices for consumers and employment, tax revenues and growth. The attitude of acceptance towards piracy will have to change if the problem is to reduce in the future.
The government should update and review their copyright legislation more frequently and in association with software publishers and the industry watchdogs. They should increase penalties in line with other countries, such as the US and the UK, who are effectively dealing with software piracy. They should also amend "The Copyright and Related Rights Bill" which is due to become law this autumn. At present it does not protect the identity of informants and multiple or statutory damages cannot be awarded. The software industry must continue to update their preventative measures to stay ahead of the pirates. The author recommends that Software Registration should be introduced and implemented as compulsory within the next ten years. Software publishers must also highlight incentives to consumers for buying their products such as free trials, upgrades and technical support. The industry should publicise the damaging effects of pirate software to governments and end users so attitudes towards piracy will change. They should also sell software to small and medium sized businesses at a reduced rate. At present there is a lot of piracy in this area and a significant reason for this is because small companies have to pay fun price for each copy of an application they require, whereas large companies benefit from reduced rates when buying in bulk. The End User can also help to prevent software piracy and know that they are purchasing an original item. End Users should know what to look out for when looking for legitimate software and be wary of software they receive with new PC's. When purchasing legitimate software they should make sure they are aware if they are entitled to any extras such as free upgrades or technical support. End Users play an important part of preventing piracy and can report suspected pirate software to the BSA or software publishers hot lines if they come across it on the internet, at work or at home.