Name: Soon Kian Meng
Student No.: s02541134A
Over the years, piracy has been a global issue. Piracy is the unauthorized use or appropriation of patented or copyrighted material, ideas etc. There are many form of piracy – Professional Counterfeits, CD-ROM Piracy, Quasi-Counterfeits, Hard Disk Loaders, One Day/Car Boot Sales, Bulletin Boards, INTERNET, OEM Irregularity and Human Cloning. However, today, I am going to talk about software piracy and human cloning.
Software Piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. According to one source, about 40% of all software in current use is stolen. In 1998, revenue losses from software piracy were estimated at $11 billion worldwide. North America, Asia, and Western Europe account for 80% of revenue losses with the United States ranking highest in dollar losses. It is such a profitable "business" that it has caught the attention of organized crime groups in a number of countries. Software piracy causes significant lost revenue for publishers, which in turn results in higher prices for the consumer. Some software publishers go out of business because of software piracy. Others are discouraged from entering markets where software piracy rates are high.
When you purchase a commercial software package, a licensing agreement is included to protect that software program from copyright infringement. Typically, the license states that you can install the original copy of software you bought on one computer and that you can make a backup copy in case the original is lost or damaged. You agree to the licensing agreement when you open the software package (this is called a shrink wrap license), when you open the envelope that contains the software disks, or when you install the software.
“Software piracy applies mainly to full-function commercial software. The time-limited or function-restricted versions of commercial software called shareware are less likely to be pirated since they are freely available. Freeware, a type of software that is copyrighted but freely distributed at no charge, also offers little incentive for piracy.”(http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213592,00.html )
There are many form of software piracy. They are Softlifting, Hard-disk loading, counterfeiting, and lastly online piracy.
Softlifiting is the most common form of piracy. Sharing a program with a friend or associate is softlifting. To stop this kind of piracy in businesses and institutions, software publishers are offering multi-user licenses, which are cheaper than buying single copies for every machine.
Hard-disking loading is committed by computer dealers who install unauthorized copies of software on computers that they sale. When purchasing a computer, request that all the software installed be provided in a hard disk copy too. If the dealer refuses, do not buy that computer and report the incident to an anti-piracy organization.
Counterfeiting; with today's technology, making counterfeit copies of software is easy. Microsoft is the most targeted for software piracy because their software is so widespread. Microsoft investigators have found pirated software on the computers of police who were conducting piracy investigations. Some counterfeit copies are copied onto floppy disks and CDs and sold on street corners. Other counterfeit copies are sold through retail stores usually unknowingly. In these cases, significant efforts were made to duplicate packaging and logos. Notice the heat sensitive strip at the top of a Microsoft manual. Rub it or hold it near a hot bulb. The strip will disappear and reveal the word "genuine." This is a genuine Microsoft product.
Online-Piracy: Because software is now available on the Internet, online piracy is becoming popular. In the past, the only place to download software was from a bulletin board system and these were limited to local areas because of long distance charges while online. Microsoft and other companies regularly patrol the Web for pirated software. Buying software from online auctions can be dangerous. Lately, online piracy has been extended to music, too, especially in the MP3 format. It is not difficult to copy music from a CD, convert it to the MP3 format, and make it available for anyone to download. Unfortunately, this deprives composers of royalties that they are entitled to. Although much pirated music is available in the MP3 format, MP3.com has recently made arrangements to charge users for downloads and pay royalties to composers who make music available.
If one has kept up with current affairs, one would have notice that the heat is on in Singapore. The Recording Industry of Singapore (RIAS), a branch of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the USA, is coming down hard on music downloader.
Below is an extract:
And the consequences could be severe. Technology lawyer Bryan Tan told The Straits Times that under the Singapore Copyright Law, a person caught distributing illegal MP3 files could be fined up to $ 100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years.
Rias has identified individual offenders, and has already taken legal action against some. It has warned that file-swoppers cannot count on the anonymity of the Internet to hide their activities either.
Rias' chief executive officer Edward Neubronner told The Straits Times: 'Rias has taken action against persons who infringe copyright over the Internet, and will not hesitate to continue to do so.
'Those who think that the Internet offers anonymity so that they can get away with copyright infringement should think again.'
According to the article almost all the music files found on the Internet are illegal copies and the picture is of a large number of Singaporeans who breach intellectual property laws. The RIAS is working to change that. (http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/7658 )
RIAS prime target is known to be Kaaza, P2P file-sharing software. Till now, a local undergraduate has been caught by RIAS while downloading mp3 files from kaaza.
There are lots of arguments going on after RIAS set foot on Singapore. Most of which comes from P2P network users – Kaaza users.
Kaaza users cited all kind of different reasons for downloading from Kaaza. Some said they downloaded because they can’t find the songs in the retail stores. Some said they do it out of convenience, not out of greed. Some claim that they used Kazaa to share their self-created songs with others around the world and that they did not download anything from Kazaa. Most common among the reasons given was the high retail price of music compact disks. In Singapore, 1 CD alone could cost up to S$20 plus plus. With the recent economic slowdown, piracy is definitely rife. However, if you downloaded the songs through the mIRC or Kazaa, you need not pay a single cent except for the monthly Internet fees which is not much. Therefore, there is every reasons why more and more people is downloading from the Internet. For a list of HOT arguments, go to (http://www.ghostrecon.net/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=17&t=8511)
Of course, we also have a minority of which is anti-piracy. We call them the “Odd-One-Out”. These people cited reasons to support their stand against piracy too. Most common reasons stated is showing support for the global artists by paying them copyright for their songs. With piracy, the artists would be earning much lesser and eventually there would be no artists left to create music that is pleasant to our ears. Others said that piracy is a moral issue – “You don’t take something that is not yours and said it yours”.
However, the global file-sharers arguers argued back to the reasons cited by the anti-piracy supporters. In response to paying copyright to the artists for their creative works, file-sharers argued that if artists make music to earn money, then artists have abused arts. Arts are not a commodity. In addition, piracy-supporters said that by downloading music from P2P network, they actually helped to spread the popularity of the artists and make them more famous than before.
The war of arguments is endless and there is no right or wrong, depending on how one view the issue; from the artists’ point of view or from the downloader point of view. Both sides are equally able to cite valid reasons to support their stand.
Software piracy has always been rife in Asia. In a laptop, one can actually find lots of pirated software. This goes to show how rife piracy is in Singapore.
From my point of view as a regular downloader, I would say that piracy will cause the rich to become richer and the poor to become poorer. The rich can afford the expensive music CD and software whereas the poor can’t afford. The amount of knowledge in the CD (e.g. educational software) remains available to the riches but become unavailable to the poor once anti-piracy law is strictly enforced. This can certainly cause some unhappy inequalities in the society.
Moreover, if RIAS and RIAA successfully beaten piracy in 200 years time, can the artists be assured that their sales will go up. People would still be resorting to other mean of piracy. For instance, copying music from radio onto cassette.
RIAS and RIAA in achieving their aim of anti-piracy had actually violated Internet subscribers’ privacy. Refer to: (http://www.asia.cnet.com/newstech/personaltech/0,39001147,39144600,00.htm ).
So isn’t the issue of privacy as important as the issue of piracy? In return for anti-piracy, does it mean that privacy can be violated?
“The term `human cloning' means human asexual reproduction, accomplished by introducing nuclear material from one or more human somatic cells into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nuclear material has been removed or inactivated so as to produce a living organism (at any stage of development) that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human organism.” (http://www.cogforlife.org/clonebill.htm )
Why are most people against human cloning??? There are basically three reasons why people are against cloning of human beings.
The three reasons are: Health risks from mutation of genes - an abnormal baby would be a nightmare comes true. Emotional risks - a child grows up knowing her mother is her sister, her grandmother is her mother. And finally the risk of abuse of the technology - what would Hitler have done with cloning technology if available in the 1940s?
Both software piracy and human cloning are the hot topics around the world today. Many arguments have been raised about them and there are advantages and disadvantages to them.