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Definition: software piracy

The illegal copying of software for distribution within the organization, or to friends, clubs and other groups, or for duplication and resale. The software industry loses billions of dollars each year to piracy, and although it may seem innocent enough to install an application on a couple of additional machines (called "softloading" and "softlifting"), it may ultimately shatter the profitability of a small software company.

Software piracy is a major issue in the U.S. and Europe, but it is rampant in the rest of the world where major applications are routinely copied by the thousands for resale. See warez, piracy investigator, NET Act and SIIA.