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Hard disk loading is commercial software piracy. System builders purchase a legal copy of software, but then reproduce, copy or install the software onto computer hard disks. Then, a computer is sold with the hard disk containing the pre-installed software. This method of piracy is known as hard disk loading.
Typically the computers are sold at PC resale shops. Older operating systems are often used for this type of pirating. Resellers will include an extra charge for the illegitimate software, although the actual charge is not documented on the receipt or sale slip. Thus, the customer is ignorant of any pirating, but the reseller still profits from their original unauthorized purchase of the pirated software.
Other types of electronic counterfeit softwares are pirated as well. And the customer may not realize it until the software contains missing information, or becomes completely unusable. Furthermore, some resale computer organizations boldly download pirated software onto customer’s computers. In these instances, customers are aware that they are receiving unauthorized software. As an example, three Philippine computer resale companies were the target of an investigation launched by the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT). Located in Manila, the companies used downloading pirated software as a marketing strategy. They may have brought in customers, but they also brought in the PAPT. By being in possession of counterfeit software, buyers and sellers are in violation of copyright laws. Knowledgeable consumers must assure that there are no pre-installed programs on purchased computers, especially when dealing with resellers.