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Warez refers to freely distributed copyrighted materials considered to violate copyright law. Warez pertains to releases of unauthorized duplicates by organized groups.
Warez may be pirated versions of commercial software distributed to the public through the Internet or a bulletin board system (BBS). Usually, warez distributors obtain pre-released or existing copies of copyrighted software, discover an effective way to deactivate or crack the registration system or copyright protection employed by the original software vendors and then offer these cracked versions through the Internet for downloading. The majority of warez files find public distribution within one-click hosting sites and BitTorrent sites.
Warez is the plural of ware, which is short for computer ware.
The most common downloads at warez sites include software or applications from well known manufacturers like Symantec, Microsoft and Adobe. Large organizations combat warez materials by releasing fake torrents, which reveal the IP addresses of those distributing warez. These organizations may contact those responsible for illegally distributing their goods and inform them about impending legal consequences.
Warez was initially coined by underground computer groups. It quickly spread to the media and Internet users. Warez most typically is downloaded by millions of users through newsgroups or other such hosts after the initial release is duplicated and renamed.
The term warez does not refer to copyrighted materials being shared between groups of friends. Also, warez must not be mistaken for freeware or shareware software, which can be openly copied and distributed under the law.