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What is Software Piracy?

Software piracy as the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software. Piracy includes casual copying of particular software by an individual orbusiness. With the advancement of technological tools software piracy has increased worldwide. You may be thinking, what does this have to do with me? Unfortunately, software piracy affects all of us in more ways than one. For instance, software piracy hurts the economy because revenue is lost .Second, the software industry is affected because limited numbers of jobs are available. Lastly, consumers end up paying higher prices for software programs.

Software Piracy refers to unauthorized duplication and use odd computer software. Software developers work had to develop solid software programs. If those applications are stolen software developers will be unable to develop and generate revenue that will be required to continue and expand those applications. The effects of software piracy impact the global economy. The reduced revenues often divert funding from product development and result in less research and less investment in marketing.

History of Software Piracy


Stealing copyrighted software and entertainment media has never being easy. The advent of file sharing programs like Bit-torrent and Napster makes acquiring most expensive for free software as easy as just clicking a button and acquiring high speed internet connection. Belief that software piracy evolved recently is common misconception people have stolen software for years.

What constitutes Software Piracy?


Several court cases have questioned what constitutes pirating software. The best definition can be summed as follows, the use of the software not legally purchased or the copying of the software not legally authorized to do so Despite the clear legality of software piracy, illegal software accounts for roughly half of all the softwares are in use according to Business Software Alliance (BSA). Beginning: Before 1980 one could freely copy computer programs and pirate without any legal ramifications in a sense. The U.S. Patent Office recognized copyrights on computer software, but only on the compiled version, not the source code. The patent office granted computer programs protection as a "literary" work, but as in a book you could not copyright particular words, only the work as a whole. Testimony and lobbying by Microsoft founder Bill Gates during the late 1970s finally led to legislation that started to protect software integrity. Digital Piracy Before the widespread software piracy on the Internet, thieves used dial-up Bulletin Board Systems to upload and distribute software to local computer owners. Thieves could log on with a telephone connection and either download files to their computer, or in the case of programs with larger file sizes, meet other software pirates willing to trade floppy disks through the mail system. Peer To Peer While the 1990s made software piracy easier, the new millennium turned copying software illegally into a fairly common occurrence with programs that simplified filesharing so that anyone could steal copyrighted material. Peer to Peer networks, specifically Napster and shortly thereafter Bit-Torrent, decentralized access to illegal

software so that users could share files with millions of users worldwide and leave no trace of the action. Warning Although software piracy is common occurrence, especially with young people who grow up learning computer and their use, it is still illegal under USA government and most other countries .However as internet speed becomes faster and faster, piracy has become a more efficient material to obtain copyrighted material than purchasing a hard disk version. Penalties for distribution of pirated software can result in to hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Why is software piracy bad?


Software is intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws in most countries. Most software licenses grant users the permission to use the software, but the license holder does not "own" the software -- they simply own a license to "use" the software. Pirating software, circumventing the copy protection, and not properly licensing the software is illegal in most of the world. And in most countries, it is illegal to violate or circumvent software copyrights. Unfortunately, due to the global nature of the Internet, it is often difficult to enforce those copyright laws. If the pirate or offender is located in a country that does not respect copyright laws, it can be difficult to enforce penalties against software pirates. Customers who use pirated software are not without risk. Using illegally obtained and pirated software can often result in significant legal consequences and fines. Additionally, pirated software may contain Trojans, viruses, and other forms of malware, because the pirates will often modify the downloadable files with malicious code. Software developers will rarely support users of pirated software, so those users will not have access to product support or bug fixes. Using illegal software that circumvents

copy protection is not without negative social stigma, and businesses can be publicly embarrassed and their reputations damaged as a result of using pirated software. Thievery: Piracy legally hurts the sale of software. According to BSA.org for every legitimate sale of softwares worth $100 saw $79 of pirated in 2009. Dangerous: Software piracy can be dangerous for the downloader. Its not uncommon for untrustworthy software pirates to release or perpetuate viruses through pirated software. Punishable: MyBusiness.co.uk states that piracy is usually played down by pirates who dont know the severity of what they are doing, anything that is stolen whether digitally or physically it is still a theft and may be punishable by law. Excuse: CS.RPI states that many software pirates download the software for a test run, in other words they download the software to test it, if they like it they will pay for it. The ethics surrounding this scenario are murky. The intension dosent makes it any less of a theft. Scope: While one act of software piracy may not cripple a multimillion-dollar software corporation, repeated theft very well could, as shown by the statistics. In 2009, the commercial value of pirated software exceeded $50 billion dollars.

Basic Software Piracy Terminology:


Cloning - Ideas can not be copy protected, and unfortunately some software developers choose to "clone" other applications rather than creating their own. Crack - A software crack is an illegally obtained but working version of the software, which circumvents the software's copyright protection. Software cracking refers to the modification of software in order to remove encoded copy prevention. Distribution of cracked software is generally an illegal act of copyright infringement. Cracker - An individual that undertakes disabling software protection, either for fun or financial gain. Hack - The classic and somewhat innocent definition of hack used to be just "a clever workaround". The term now has a much more negative connotation, and usually refers to working around the copy protection of an application for the sole purpose of creating an illegal version of the software. While not always the case, a hack could be a fix, or a bug workaround. Hacker - One who hacks. The original definition was "a clever programmer", but the term has since come to mean someone who tries to break into computer systems or protected software. Hardware Locking - A method of protecting software from duplication by locking the software license to a specific piece of computer hardware, such as the hard drive it is installed on, so that it will not function on any other computer. KeyGens Or Key Generators - a Key Gen (short for Key Generator) is a small program that will generate an unauthorized but working registration key or serial number for a piece of software. It is typically used to circumvent copy protection and create an illegal version of a software application.

Serials - Usually refers to illegally obtained registration keys or "serial" numbers that unlock a downloadable evaluation version of a product. Warez - Another term for a software crack.

Techniques used in software piracy:


Counterfeiting When unauthorized copies of software are duplicated and sold as legitimate copies produced or authorized by the legal publisher. Typically the counterfeiter will use FileMaker logos and trademarks to make the product look like legitimate FileMaker software; however, some counterfeiters simply copy the product on disks without any silkscreen, sometimes handwriting the name of the product right on the disk and placing the disk in a plastic jewel case without any retail packaging. CD-R piracy When a software program is copied using CD-R recording technology (CR-R technology is a recordable disk medium that is typically used to "burn" copies of music and movies and often has serial numbering on the plastic inner ring of the CD). This form of piracy occurs when an individual makes a copy of a software program and re-distributes it to friends or for resale. Although there is some overlap between CD-R piracy and counterfeiting, with CD-R piracy there may be no attempt to try to pass off the illegal copy as a legitimate copy (CD-R copies may have hand-written labels and no documentation at all). With CD recording equipment becoming relatively inexpensive, this new form of end-user piracy is plaguing the software industry. FileMaker software is always manufactured on CD-ROM media, not CD-R media.

Soft lifting When an individual purchases a single licensed copy of a software program and loads it on several machines, usually in violation of the terms of the license agreement. Typical examples of softlifting include "sharing" software with friends and co-workers or installing software on home/laptop computers that are not allowed by the license. Softlifting is the most prevalent type of software piracyand one of the easiest to catch.

Unrestricted client access When an individual copies a software program onto an organization's servers and the organization's network "clients" are allowed to freely access the software in violation of the terms of the license agreement. This is a violation when the organization has a "single instance" license that permits installation of the software onto a single computer, rather than a client-server license that allows concurrent server-based network access to the software. A violation also occurs when the organization has a client-server license and the organization is not enforcing user restrictions outlined in the license. Unrestricted client access piracy is similar to softlifting, in that it results in more employees having access to a particular program than are permitted under the license for that software. Unlike softlifting though, unrestricted client access piracy occurs when the software is loaded onto a company's servernot on individual machinesand clients are permitted to access the server-based software application through the organization's network. Hard-disk loading When an individual or company sells computers preloaded with illegal copies of software. Oftentimes, a vendor will preload illegal copies of software as an incentive to get the buyer to purchase hardware. If you buy or rent computers with preloaded software, the vendors documentation must specify the name of any preloaded software

and that the software is a legal, licensed copy. If you do not see this information and the vendor is unwilling to supply you with the proper documentation, do not deal with that vendor. FileMaker offers assistance in finding qualified resellers through our website.

OEM piracy/unbundling When original equipment manufacturer (OEM) software is copied and sold separately from the hardware. This is a violation of the distribution contract between the vendor and the software publisher. FileMaker does not distribute OEM software, so if you find an online business or auction site describing FileMaker software as OEM, be on the look out for illegal software.

Commercial use of noncommercial software When educational or other commercial-use-restricted software is used in violation of the software license. Software companies will often market special non-commercial software to specific industries. For example, many software companies sell versions of their software to educational institutions at a reduced price. Acquiring and using noncommercial software hurts not only the software publisher, but also the institution that was the intended recipient of the software.

Internet piracy Internet piracy is also defined as making available or offering for sale pirated software over the Internet (for example, offering software through an auction site, IM, IRC or a warez site). Incidences of Internet piracy have risen exponentially over the last few years.

Manufacturing plant sale of overruns and 'scraps' When software publishers authorize CD manufacturing plants to produce copies of their software onto CD-ROM for distribution to their authorized vendors for resale to the public and the plant produces more copies of the software than authorized and resells these unauthorized overruns. Piracy also occurs when the publisher orders the plant to destroy any CDs not distributed to its vendors, but the plant, in violation of these orders, resells the CDs.

Software Piracy getting common today


Software piracy is one of the most common crimes. It is becoming more prevalent than legitimate software sales in some countries. Unfortunately, this trend will likely continue for some time. Identification There are dozens of reasons why so many people use illegal copies of software. The most common include the relative ease of it due to high-speed Internet connections that can share large files in minutes; and the cost of some software, which is often more than the average monthly wage in a developing country.

Interesting Fact In 2007, Armenia had the highest use of pirated software, at 93 percent, according to the Business Software Alliance.

Types Of Software Piracy


One of the most common ways people pirate software occurs through the trading of CDs among friends. Quite often, people simply do not understand that software licenses usually restrict installation to a single computer. Other methods include transfer over a peer-to-peer network and people selling phony versions. Prevention/Solution Software companies have tried a multitude of methods to stop software piracy, such as lowering their prices, inspections of businesses and unique key codes. Usually, these only annoy the legitimate buyers of the software. Effects Organizations, such as the Business Software Alliance, believe that software piracy stifles the incentive to make innovative software as companies lose billions to illegal copies.

Effects of Software Piracy on Users


Experts say that pirated software often includes incomplete or damaged programs, which can function incorrectly or hurt productivity. Consumers using illegal software generally cannot get access to product support, instructional materials, or low-cost product upgrades. Businesses using illegal software are subject to legal action, fines, and low productivity. In addition, experts say that pirated software can also include computer viruses which can destroy data on a users hard drive. Computer viruses can have a devastating impact on any computer user -- from the home user to a large business, according to Larry Birdwell, virus expert at the National Computer Security Association. "One of the best ways to avoid computer viruses is to only use legitimate

software from reputable sources. Using pirated software is an open invitation for computer viruses (Smiroldo). Companies can also be subject to raids by the SIIA. The SIIA raid begins with an informant. Informants are anonymous and often include disgruntled employees.

Both the SIIA and BSA have toll-free anti-piracy hotlines that alert them to piracy violations.
Copy protection can create a nightmare for users. Most users hate dongles for a variety of reasons. Dongles can be troublesome to install and use since they often require a special hardware driver, and they can interfere with the use of peripherals such as printers and scanners. Since no standard exists for dongles, each protected program requires an additional dongle, which causes an unwieldy pile of connected dongles on the back of the PC. Ethan Winer has this to say about copy protection: Any copy protection scheme that requires intervention from the publisher has the potential to cause you disaster. Suppose you're working on a project and your hard disk fails. So you go to Staples and buy another, only to find that your Key disk is no longer readable or it reports that you already used up your two allowable installations.

Effect of Software Piracy on Industries:


Software pirates can destroy the revenue stream of small companies that have successfully found a niche in the industry. Without this revenue stream, these small companies lack the resources for development of new software innovations which decreases the chances of making a profit. The inevitable result is that these small companies often become economically unstable and often go under, all because software pirates have decided to steal their software and make it available to others

In addition to piracy problems, the copy protection schemes themselves can be expensive. Dongles are not an option for many software companies since they add an additional manufacturing expense of between $5 and $20 to each copy of the program. Dongles also do not facilitate Internet based distribution of software since a dongle must be shipped to each customer to allow operation of the software. Complicated copy protection puts an unneeded strain on end users and in some instances it can actually hurt a companys performance.

Effective Anti-Piracy Methods to employ in Software Development


Abstract Software piracy in todays global marketplace is so common that nearly one-third of all installed software is pirated. Losses from piracy create an intense need for software publishers to implement measures to protect their software and intellectual property. Protection methods involve enacting intellectual property laws, reducing consumers desire to pirate software, and implementing software protection schemes. Companies that successfully implement these methods may reduce piracy of their software products. Introduction There is an enormous, growing market for commercial PC software accounting for nearly $50 billion in global sales in 2004. However, for every two legally purchased software licenses, one license is obtained illegally. Revenue lost to software piracy is estimated at $29 billion [1]. This software piracy problem is growing every year and spreading world-wide. In some countries, pirated software accounts for over 90% of installed software [2]. This piracy problem has introduced increasing demands in todays software development process. Before, software companies main focus was developing new and intuitive software. Now, they must also spend time, money and resources researching and developing techniques to protect their intellectual property. Because of the increasing amount of attention directed towards piracy prevention, it is important for companies to know what can be done to stop the average user from attempting to pirate software. Software piracy can be reduced by employing effective anti-piracy methods during software development.

Effective Anti-Piracy Methods


Effectively preventing software piracy requires multiple tactics. Software companies must ensure they protect their intellectual property, reduce consumers desire to pirate their software, and implement software protection methods to stop those who want to steal it.

Intellectual Protection An essential part of employing anti-piracy methods is to ensure that intellectual property (IP) is properly protected. This requires effort from both software companies and national governments. First, governments must ensure that laws exist to protect companys intellectual property. Next, these laws must be enforced against infringers. Finally, the industry must educate the public about the IP laws. The first step in implementing proper IP protection is to encourage governments to create the laws that will protect IP against infringement. This includes software patents and copyrights. Software companies should know what laws protect their IP in marketable countries, and lobby the governments if these laws are not adequate. Strong intellectual protection laws exist in most developed nations, and many other counties are developing these laws. The United States recently passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [4], which includes many provisions for protecting intellectual property. US copyright offenders are fined up to $150,000 per civil infringement or up to $250,000 and five years in jail for criminal infringers. The next step in intellectual property protection is ensuring that there are measures in place to enforce the laws. Without proper enforcement, the laws can do nothing. In the United States, both private companies (Microsoft) and government agencies (Department of Justice, FBI, police departments, postal service) can file criminal suites against alleged offenders [3]. Other national agencies such as Canadas RCMP and government agencies in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan have also taken

enforcement actions against IP crimes. It is important that there are criminal penalties for IP infringers, or the laws will be broken. The final step in implementing intellectual properly laws is consumer education. Education is essential for deterring piracy, as many consumers are unaware they are actually breaking laws. Many consumers think it is legal to install software on multiple machines, enter copied registration codes, or download commercial software over the Internet. Recent studies have shown that 54% of consumers are unaware any policies against redistribution of paid-for content exist [7]. Another study found that only 25% of college students take the position that piracy is wrong [8]. Only when consumers understand that infringing is immoral and illegal will they stop pirating software.

Software Protection The easiest and often most productive way of preventing piracy is implementing mechanisms in the software to stop illegal copying. Common mechanisms include issuing registration codes, requiring product activation, and physical media protection.

Software Protection: Registration Codes The most basic form of software protection is the use of registration codes. Registration codes are essentially a unique string or a combination of unique strings that must be entered by the user to run the software. A code is given to each customer when they purchase the software, and these strings are impossible for the user to generate on their own. This is an effective way to allow only legitimate customers run the software. Software companies can either create a pre-generated list of codes for customers to use, or generate a unique code based on the customers name or computer signature. Pre-generated codes require less effort for the company, as all they have to do is include a code in each software package sold. Unique strings can be generated by the millions in a small amount of time. However, using pre-generated codes makes it easy for the user to copy the code for use on another machine. This kind of piracy can be reduced by using online activation (see below).

Registration codes can also be generated from a unique computer signature. A computer signature is created by taking unique information about the machine and converting this into a code that can only be used on that machine. This will stop users from entering the code on more than one machine. However, it also requires extra effort for the software company to generate these codes and communicate them to the customer after the purchase. Technical difficulties might also arise from this complicated process. Unfortunately, it is often easy for software pirates to distribute pre-generated codes on the internet for other consumers to use. Many pirating groups have reverse-engineered code generation algorithms to create their own codes. They create key-generators that will make a code for any user who wants to pirate the software. However, registration codes still provide a simple mechanism to protect against the casual consumer who is not willing to spend a lot of time figuring out how to pirate the software.

Software Protection: Online Activation Online software activation is another layer of protection that can be added to software packages. Online activation requires the customer to contact the software company after the purchase to unlock the software package. The software company will only allow this activation if the customer has legally purchased the software, and it has not activated on another computer. This makes it much harder for the customer to illegally install the software on more than one machine. Online activation requires a greater amount of effort from the company. They must provide the infrastructure for customers to contact them and unlock their software. Sometimes customers will not have Internet access, so the company must be prepared to activate the software by telephone or other means. There are methods that software pirates use to bypass online activation. Pirating groups release patches for the software to bypass the activation, or they reverse-engineer the activation algorithms and fake them. Though it provides another layer of protection over

registration codes, the software company must devote additional infrastructure, time and costs to this form of protection.

Anti-piracy committee

Business Software Alliance The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a trade group established in 1988 and representing a number of the world's largest software makers. Its principal activity is trying to stop copyright infringement of software produced by its members. It is funded through membership dues based on member company's software revenues, and through settlements from companies it successfully brings action against. It is a member of the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

BSA annual software piracy study BSA has been heavily criticized about the yearly study it publishes about copyright infringement of software. This study, produced in collaboration with the International Data Corporation, tries to estimate the level of copyright infringement of software in different countries, as well as the resulting losses for the software industry.[7] The methodology consists in estimating the number of computers shipped in a given country, as well as the average quantity of software installed on these machines. Separately, an estimation of the quantity of legitimate software sold in the country is produced, and the difference between the total amount of software estimated to be in use in the country and the estimation of software sold is used as an indicator of the rate of unauthorized copy. A estimation of the total amount lost is produced by multiplying the estimator number of unauthorized copies by the price of the original software. These estimates have been criticized as being exaggerated and many flaws of the methodology have been pointed out; some of the figures seem to be guesses rather than solid data, and some data may not be representative. The calculation of the losses,

in particular, assumes that each piece of copied software represents a direct loss of sale for software companies, a very contested assumption.[8] The study's assumptions have been described as being unworthy of a first year student of statistics.[9] These criticisms have been aggravated by the use of the BSA study to lobby for new, stricter copyright laws and to seek tougher penalties for people convicted of copyright infringement on software; in Britain, a judge cited the data provided by the BSA to justify a lengthy prison sentence for two people convicted of copyright infringement.[8] Other studies published by the BSA have been criticized. For example, a study claiming that software patents are of the same importance to small and medium enterprises and large companies, have also been described as misleading and as using a flawed methodology, but the results have nevertheless been quoted by politicians.

Canadian Alliance against software theft The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) is a Canadian trade group affiliated with the Business Software Alliance. [1] Its mission statement is to "reduce software piracy in Canada through education, public policy and enforcement." CAAST was established in 1990
[1]

The

Federation against software theft: The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is a not-for-profit organization, formed in 1984 with the aim of eliminating copyright infringement of software in the UK. FAST was the world's first Anti-piracy organization to work to protect the copyrights of software publishers. Initially concentrating on lobbying parliament to revise Copyright FAST also prosecutes organizations and individuals for copyright infringement on behalf of its members and publicizes the legal penalties and security risks. Prior to the agreement with FAST, Investors in Software were a not-for-profit organization limited by guarantee with a mission to support and advance professionalism in Software and related IT asset management, to enable individuals

and organizations to improve effectiveness and efficiency. As a direct result of their work the ISO SAM ISO 19770 standard was successfully launched in May 2006.

International intellectual Property Alliance The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), formed in 1984, is a private sector coalition of seven trade associations representing U.S. producers of content and materials protected by copyright laws, including computer software, films, television programs, music, books and journals (in both electronic and print media), with the aim of strengthening international protection and enforcement of copyright by working with U.S. government, foreign government and private sector representatives IIPA works closely with the U.S. Trade Representative in compiling the annual Special 301 reviews of foreign countries that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative considers to have inadequate protection of intellectual property rights. IIPA was the principal representative of the entertainment industry in assisting the U.S. government in the World Trade Organization (WTO) TRIPS negotiations, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, and at the Diplomatic Conference leading to the completion of the two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) "Internet" treaties in 1996. IIPA has also worked with the U.S. government in drafting IPR chapters of recent Free Trade Agreements. It participates in policy developments in copyright and enforcement issues in bilateral and regional initiatives such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). IIPA participates in trade actions brought under trade laws, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and other trade preference programs. IIPA is a non-governmental organization at the WIPO.

Anti-Piracy methods by Microsoft for various operating systems Windows Activation Technologies in Windows 7 Microsoft Genuine Software Initiative In an effort to ensure that customers avoid the risks of using counterfeit and noncompliant software and experience all of the benefits of using genuine software , Microsoft launched the Microsoft Genuine Software Initiative (GSI). The GSI divides its increasing investments across three strategic areas: education , engineering, and enforcement.

Figure 1: Three Pillars of Microsoft GSI

Education
Microsoft is constantly working to raise the awareness of individual customers, organizations, resellers, and other partners regarding the importance of intellectual property rights for the ecosystem as well as the software industry, the value of using genuine software, and risks of using counterfeit software. This way , they can better protect themselves and help ensure that their software licensing is in order. For example, the Microsoft How to Tell website provides detailed information about, and actual examples of, counterfeit software to help customers identify it.

In addition to providing its own educational resources, Microsoft actively supports industry software and intellectual property associations worldwide, such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), and the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA).

Engineering
Microsoft invests heavily in technologies and product features to make piracy more difficult and to help customers and partners determine whether software packaging and media are genuine. Such investments include improving packaging, making the Software Protection Platform an integral component of Windows , and providing periodic updates to customers that help them identify and differentiate genuine software. Packaging Genuine Microsoft software comes in a large variety of packaging types, often depending on the way the customer acquires the software. For example, they may purchase a computer with the software already loaded on it, purchase the software from a retail location, or for large organizations, purchase the software through one of the Microsoft Volume Licensing programs (on volume media). In some cases, the packaging includes an attractive box with documentation and CDs or DVDs inside. In others, the packaging contains only a printed license with CDs or DVDs inside a sealed envelope. Although there are many ways to identify genuine Microsoft software packaging, two of the best are a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and a sophisticated holographic design on the CD or DVD media. A COA is a label that is on the retail product package or included in the materials that come with a computer purchase (for preloaded software). A COA helps customers visually identify whether or not the software they purchased is genuine.

Figure 2: Retail Package COA A COA is not itself a licensebut without it, a customer does not have a legal license to run that copy of the Microsoft software. A COA should never be purchased without the software that it authenticates. Genuine Microsoft software CDs or DVDs (including volume media DVDs) come on holographic discs with multiple defining characteristics that are intentionally hard to duplicate. For example, a genuine hologram image changes as the disc is tilted. Software Protection Platform With the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft developed a set of technologies called the Software Protection Platform (SPP). These technologies have been very successful in identifying counterfeit products in Windows Vista, and they are the foundation of Windows Activation Technologies in Windows 7, which includes both activation and validation. The SPP was developed to help fight piracy, protect customers from the risks of counterfeit software, and better enable Volume License customers to manage their software assets. The SPP brings antipiracy innovations, counterfeit detection practices, and tamper-resistance into a complete platform that provides better software protection to individuals, organizations, and the software industry. Microsoft Product Activation Windows activation technologies apply to Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. In addition, the Volume Activation (VA) component of the Windows Activation Technologies has applicability to the upcoming release of Microsoft Office 2010. For further information about how activation and validation applies to Microsoft Office, refer to theGenuine Microsoft Software website. Activation is the process of establishing an association between a valid product key and a computer. Computers that are purchased from reputable retailers or manufacturers

often have Windows preinstalled, and the software has been pre-activated by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). There is no additional user action required. Customers who obtain their Windows software through other meansfor example, from a retail software store, Microsoft volume licensing programs , or MSDNcan activate their software through the Microsoft activation service by using the Internet or phone. In addition, Microsoft provides large organizations with the ability to host and run the activation service within their company environment (which is explained more thoroughly later in this paper). All methods of activation that are used by Microsoft are designed to help protect user privacy. In cases where information is sent during activation, it is used to confirm that the customer has a legally licensed copy of the software, and then the information is aggregated for statistical analysis. At that point , no data can be traced to an individual customer. At no point in the process does Microsoft use this information to identify or contact customers. For more information about privacy policies, please see the Microsoft Privacy website. Online Validation Validation helps confirm that a copy of a Windows operating system is activated and properly licensed. Users may be asked to validate their copy of Windows when they go to the Microsoft Download Center to download content that is reserved for users of genuine Windows software. Validation can also occur as part of an update from Windows Update. In some instances, a computer that has previously passed validation may fail a later validation process. This may happen because Microsoft constantly discovers new forms of piracy, and they then update the antipiracy components of the validation process to help disable the emerging threats.

Benefits of using original version of windows 7 In direct contrast to the risks of using counterfeit software, the benefits of using genuine Microsoft software provide real value to both individual customers and organizations.

Genuine Microsoft software is published by Microsoft, comes from a trusted source, and is supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. With genuine Microsoft software, customers are better protected, receive support when needed, and have exclusive access to updates and downloads that provide additional value and help them get the most from their software investment. With genuine software, customers receive the complete Microsoft software experience: the product works the way it should, and it includes full documentation to help customers get the most from their computers. In addition, genuine Microsoft software is equipped with piracy prevention features that help customers visually identify that the media and packaging are genuine. For organizations that exercise Volume Licensing or use Volume License media, genuine Microsoft software provides them with the assurance that the software is reliable and is more easily managed with Volume Activation tools that assist in deployment and help with license compliance.

Windows 7 Activation and Licensing


Customers can obtain licenses for Windows 7 through one of three channels: retail, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), or Volume Licensing (VL). One software license is always required for each computer that uses Windows, and the only ways to legally license a copy of Windows on a new computer are to buy the computer with a licensed (and pre-activated) copy of Windows or to buy a full, packaged Windows product. Volume Licensing is available only for upgrading Windows on computers with an existing Windows license. Each channel has its own unique activation methods. Because organizations can obtain Windows 7 software through multiple channels, they can use a combination of activation methods. Some editions of Windows, such as Windows 7 Enterprise Edition, are available only through the VL channel. Retail Windows 7 products that are acquired online or in a store from reputable resellers and retailers (or from Microsoft directly) are individually licensed. Each purchased copy

comes with one unique product key, found on the COA on the product packaging. Users can complete the activation by entering the product key during the setup and installation process or by using the Activate windows option from the Control Panel within 30 days of installation. Multiple Activation Keys Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) activation is primarily used for one-time activation with activation services that are hosted by Microsoft. It has a predetermined number of allowed activations, which is dependent on the number of licenses that are included in the organizations licensing agreement with Microsoft. Customers can use MAK to activate their target computers individually through the activation services (online or by phone). Or they can activate the computers collectively by using the Volume Activation Management Tool (a proxy application for managing activation), which is integrated into the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). Additionally, MAK activation is simplified by using the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which enables organizations to manage MAK-activated systems hroughout their deployments.

Figure 3: Activation Notification Calendar