'Cyber Monday' shoppers warned about pirated software

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today warned shoppers to be on the lookout this holiday season for pirated software.  To help consumers avoid getting ripped off by vendors of illegal software, the organization released five critical tips.

"The holidays are a prime time for software pirates to prey on unsuspecting consumers," said Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement. "Many people innocently purchase pirated software during the holidays as they try to stretch their gift-buying budgets. We want to make certain buyers are aware of risks they take when purchasing software from third party Web sites and auction sites, and how they can avoid getting ripped off. "

"While the price may be right, pirated software comes with a hidden price tag," continued Kupferschmid.  "These products are often fakes that don't work, come with no customer support and may contain computer viruses that could seriously breach your personal security.  The last thing you want to do is give a friend or family member a gift that doesn't even work, or worse, wrecks their computer."

SIIA conducts the industry's most aggressive anti-piracy campaign, premised on the notion that one must balance enforcement with education in order to be effective. To help online shoppers spot pirated software this holiday season, SIIA issued the following tips:

1.       If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
The first and most important rule is to use common sense. If someone charges $20 for software priced at $200, you can bet that it is illegal software.

2.       Check the seller or Web site's reputation.
Don't be fooled by just seeing "Power Seller" or an equivalent rating.  Pay close attention to whether they have any neutral/negative feedback or comments from buyers claiming fraud by the seller.  Even just a few claims of fraud is a serious warning sign.

3.       If you are using an auction site, check the seller's other auctions.
Has this seller placed 10, 20 or more auctions for the same piece of software—all at an unbelievable price? This is almost always an indicator of pirated software.

4.       Check the seller's history.
Has this seller or Web site just appeared and started selling massive amounts of the same piece or set of software products?

5.       Check the location of the seller.
Is the seller or Web site offering products from another region of the world? In addition to the potential for piracy, you may be purchasing software that will be incompatible for your computer. If the product is coming from a foreign country, you might be buying software that will not run on US computers, will run in a foreign language, OR may be unlicensed in the U.S.

For more information about the SIIA Internet Anti-Piracy Division, or to read SIIA's software buying guides, visit the Software Anti-Piracy Information page.

About SIIA

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. The SIIA 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. The SIIA Anti-Piracy Litigation Program aims to educate online buyers and sellers regarding the risks and harm of buying and selling illegal software. Among other things, sellers can be prosecuted, and buyers can be burdened with viruses, faulty products, and/or no technical support. In addition to the Internet and auction piracy lawsuits, SIIA also seeks to protect legitimate sellers and unsuspecting buyers by publishing software buying guides for auction sites.  For further information, visit: www.siia.net.

 Information Source: Software & Information Industry Association