Piracy is the unauthorized distribution, theft, reproduction, copying, performance, storage, sale or other use of intellectual property (IP) protected under copyright law. It is a form of copyright infringement.
A 200-year-old U.S. Supreme Court term, piracy was first applied to the plundering of intellectual property (IP) in the mid-17th century. The term is derived from the Latin pirata, derived from the Greek peirates, which means "sea robber."
In computing, software piracy is a global issue. Because software development requires a large financial investment, software companies rely on profits to continue improving and building software. When a software program is illegally copied, downloaded and/or installed, a pirate commits an act of theft.
An entity that engages in piracy or piratical activity is known as a pirate. Pirates engage in any of the following activities:
Illegally using, distributing or copying software
Illegally uploading or downloading online music
Building an online business based on theft
Encouraging others to break the law
Manufacturing counterfeit CDs, which are sold in retail stores, flea markets, swap meets or street corners