Like fonts, software is also licensed. When you buy software you are purchasing a license to use it. It is the intellectual property of those who created it. Without permission from the manufacturer or publisher, it is illegal to use it.

In addition to being illegal and preventing software developers from being fairly compensated, pirated software can cause bugs, viruses, and system crashes. Users also lose the benefit of being able to upgrade and get support

Pirated software gets into the market and onto computers in numerous ways. People often don’t even realize they are using it.

Following are the different types of software piracy that graphic designers need to be aware of.


• Using one licensed copy to install a program on multiple computers or servers

• Copying disks for installation and distribution

• Acquiring academic or other restricted software to use for an unqualifi ed purpose

• Swapping disks inside or outside of the workplace


• Online distributors offering special deals supposedly on behalf of the software publisher, such as inventory liquidation or bankruptcy sales

• Internet auction sites that offer counterfeit, out-of-channel, or otherwise pirated software

• Peer-to-peer networks that enable unauthorized transfer of copyrighted programs (if it’s an upload of someone else’s software, it’s probably illegal)


This occurs when a business that sells new computers loads illegal copies of software onto the hard disk to make the purchase of machines more attractive.

To avoid this make sure you purchase your hardware from reputable service providers that provide you with a receipt of all original software licenses, disks, and documentation.


This occurs when pirates deliberately and illegally duplicate and sell copyrighted material, often making it appear to their customers that they are purchasing an authentic product.

Illegally copied and sold software is not eligible for support, training, or upgrades. You may not be able to register it, so it may not work properly.

To ensure that software you purchase is not counterfeit, only buy from authorized sellers and make sure that you get the original user materials (manuals, registration cards, and licenses) and that you get a receipt with your purchase.

When working with outside vendors only work with reputable service providers that maintain licenses and documentation for the software that they use.