Computer softwares are the most important part of any computer system. Basically, these consist of programmes which enable the computer to execute specific tasks. The softwares are installed into the storage slots in computer systems which are RAM, hard disk and the memory. All the applications and programmes in a computer are run by the softwares. Most of these softwares are licensed rather than sold. The license is given for a certain period of time. Microsoft, Adobe, Norton and Linux are some of the leading software developers in the global markets.
The various programmes and data in a computer are generally called as the softwares. These can be classified into two types which are system software and programming software. The basic functions in a computer device are run by the system applications whereas programming applications provide tools to write different computer programmes. Both of these are equally important for smooth functioning of a computer system. One can also create one’s own applications such as spreadsheet templates, words and word processor macros.
There are a wide variety of softwares available to the users worldwide. The licensed computer software is the computer programme which is authenticated by the manufacturer. A number of such applications are being developed by the companies so that the computers could be used for many purposes. The licensing system is based on different concepts such as the number of computers on which the licensing programme can run and the number of users that would be running the programme.
Using unlicensed computer programmes is an offence and may lead to cyber crime. In fact, the legal computer applications allow the users to run the programmes on only one computer. However, copies of the software can be made for backup purposes. In some of the cases, one can run the applications on more than one computer system. This all depends on the type of agreement that comes with the software.
The licensed computer software is basically a protection against the unauthorized copying by the users. Several laws have been made in order to protect the intellectual property rights of the developer. If software is copied without permission of the owner, it is considered as “copyright infringement”. The offender can be imposed penalties and other punishments as per the laws. There a number of situations in which this offence can take place. These situations are as the following.
* When one loads the software into one’s computer by running the application from CD-ROM, hard drive or an optical storage media.
* The software is copied on to other storage devices such as pen drive, floppy disk or the hard drive of the computer.
* The application is run directly from the network place where it is stored.
* If the software is copied for a sale or hire, it is considered as a crime.
* The offence takes place if any supporting documents of software such as programme manuals, data, and codes are distributed to others without having permission from the owner.
Computer software is a big business and thousands of companies have invested their money in this industry. It requires a large sum of money, continuous efforts and sharp human brain to develop the softwares. Therefore it becomes necessary to protect this intellectual capital from hackers and piracy threats. The federal copyright law has been made in this direction which says that users can not copy softwares for any reason except for back-up purpose without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Several other laws have been made for this purpose which protects the intellectual property rights of the software developers.
There are a number of places from where the valid computer programmes can be availed. Internet is perhaps the best source of getting these. Various online marketplaces offer the legally authorized softwares and applications. One can also download any particular programme directly from the developer’s website. Therefore, using licensed computer software is the best and ethical way to run the computer programmes. It minimizes the revenue loss of the concerned companies and also gives a lot of satisfaction to the users.