Software & Information Industry Association -- Anti-Piracy Division

The Software & Information Industry Association's Anti-Piracy Division conducts a comprehensive, industry-wide campaign to fight software and content piracy. The pro-active campaign is premised on the notion that one must balance enforcement with education in order to be effective. For more information on the SIIA and its Anti-Piracy Division, visit

How can be sure you are buying legal software?

Go to to find a list of authorized resellers.

What should you do if you come across an eBay seller that you suspect of selling illegal software?

Report them to SIIA at

If you are viewing this page it may be due to your auction being removed due to infringing content identified by SIIA and reported to eBay for removal. SIIA represents many software and content publishers who rely on SIIA to enforce their copyrights and trademarks on eBay by taking action against auction sales that have been identified as infringing. For more information on types of infringements SIIA takes action against on eBay, as well as SIIA member company statements on piracy of their products, see below.

To contact the SIIA about your auction listing, contact Jason Allen (Manager, Internet Anti-Piracy) using the contact information provided on the SIIA website.

Types of Software Piracy

Many computer users have found themselves caught in the piracy trap, unaware they were doing anything illegal. To avoid such unpleasant surprises, it may be helpful to know the ten basic ways one can intentionally or unintentionally pirate software:

1. Softlifting
Softlifting occurs when a person purchases a single licensed copy of a software program and loads it on several machines, in violation of the terms of the license agreement. Typical examples of softlifting include, "sharing" software with friends and co-workers and installing software on home/laptop computers if not allowed to do so by the license. In the corporate environment, softlifting is the most prevalent type of software piracy - and perhaps, the easiest to catch.

2. Unrestricted Client Access
Unrestricted client access piracy occurs when a copy of a software program is copied 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, the organization is not enforcing user restrictions outlined in the lciense. For instance, when the license places a restriction on the number of concurrent users that are allowed access to that program and the organization is not enforcing that number. Unrestricted client access piracy is similar to softlifting, in that it results in more employees having access to a particular program than is permitted under the license for that software. Unlike softlifting though, unrestricted client access piracy occurs when the software is loaded onto a company's server - not on individual machines - and clients are permitted to access the server-based software application through the organization's network.

3. Hard-disk Loading
Hard-disk loading occurs when an individual or company sells computers preloaded with illegal copies of software. Often this is done by the vendor as an incentive to buy certain hardware. If you buy or rent computers with preloaded software, your purchase documentation and contract with the vendor must specify which software is preloaded and that these are legal, licensed copies. If it does not and the vendor is unwilling to supply you with the proper documentation, do not deal with that vendor. SIIA offers assistance in finding qualified vendors through our Certified Software Reseller Program

4. OEM Piracy/Unbundling
Some software, known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software, is only legally sold with specified hardware. When these programs are copied and sold separately from the hardware, this is a violation of the distribution contract between the vendor and the software publisher. Similarly, the term "unbundling" refers to the act of selling software separately that is legally sold only when bundled with another package. Software programs that are marked "not for resale" are often bundled applications.

5. Commercial Use of Noncommercial Software
Using educational or other commercial-use-restricted software in violation of the software license is a form of software piracy. Software companies will often market special non-commercial software aimed at a particular audience. For example, many software companies sell educational versions of their software to public schools, universities and other educational institutions. The price of this software is often greatly reduced by the publisher in recognition of the educational nature of the institutions. Acquiring and using noncommercial software hurts not only the software publisher, but also the institution that was the intended recipient of the software.

6. Counterfeiting
Counterfeiting is the duplication and sale of unauthorized copies of software in such a manner as to try to pass off the illegal copy as if it were a legitimate copy produced or authorized by the legal publisher. Much of the software offered for bargain sale at non-trade computer shows is counterfeit software. SIIA estimates that at least 50% of the software sales that take place at computer shows throughout the United States involve counterfeit software.

7. CD-R Piracy
CD-R piracy is the illegal copying of software using CD-R recording technology. This form of piracy occurs when a person obtains a copy of a software program and makes a copy or copies and re-distributes them to friends or for re-sale. 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 - it may have hand-written labels and no documentation at all. With CD recording equipment becoming relatively inexpensive, the software industry is being plagued by this new form of end-user piracy. Just a few years ago, so-called "compilation CDs" (illegal CD-ROMs containing many different software applications) were selling for $400-$500. With CD-R's becoming more available, the price has dropped to $20 -- making illegal software available to a greater number of people.

8. Internet Piracy
Internet piracy is the uploading of commercial software (i.e., software that is not freeware or public domain) on to the Internet for anyone to copy or copying commercial software from any of these services. Internet piracy also includes making available or offering for sale pirated software over the Internet. Examples of this include the offering of software through an auction site, IM, IRC or a warez site. Incidences of Internet piracy have risen exponentially over the last few years. Internet piracy is discussed in greater detail below.

9. Manufacturing Plant Sale of Overruns and 'Scraps'
Software publishers routinely authorize CD manufacturing plants to produce copies of their software onto CD-ROM so that they can distribute these CD-ROMs to their authorized vendors for resale to the public. Plant piracy occurs when the plant produces more copies of the software than it was authorized to make, and then resells these unauthorized overruns. Piracy also occurs when the plant is ordered by the publisher to destroy any CDs not distributed to its vendors, but the plant, in violation of these orders, resells those CDs that were intended to be scrapped. While most plants appear to be compliant, and there are compliance procedures in place, there have been several instances of these forms of piracy.

10. Renting

Renting software for temporary use, like you would a movie, was made illegal in the United States by the Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990 and in Canada by a 1993 amendment to the Copyright Act. As a result, rental of software is rare.

The ten types of piracy identified above are not mutually exclusive. There is often overlap between one type of piracy and another. For instance, SIIA has come across numerous instances of OEM counterfeiting. This occurs when OEM software is unbundled in order to be re-sold, and not only does the pirate sell the OEM software, but he also makes numerous illegal copies of the OEM software and sells them as counterfeits.

Favorite Links 

What is Piracy?

Anti-Piracy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you know of piracy occuring online? Report it to us here: