91 percent of software auctioned online is pirated

The Washington-based trade association conducted a review of 1,300 online software sales on auction sites such as Amazon.com, eBay, Redwood City, Excite and Yahoo. The review was conducted during a four-day period at the end of March and beginning of April.

The SIIA found that 91 percent of the auctioned software was pirated. Out of the 1,300 online software auctions that the SIIA monitored, only 138 contained legitimate software licenses. A similar reviewed conducted on some of the same auction sites in August turned up a 60 percent software piracy rate.

Peter Burek, vice president of antipiracy programs at the SIIA, said auctioneers can dramatically reduce pirated software sales on their sites by being proactive about monitoring auctions. According to the SIIA, Amazon monitors its sales closely and immediately removes illegitimate goods from the site. The SIIA didn't find any illegitimate software auctions on Amazon's Web site during its review, he said.

SIIA suggests consumers take precautions when buying software from an online auction. First, look for signs that the software isn't for purchase, such as having the terms 'not for resale,' 'backup' or 'OEM' emblazoned on the packaging.

The organisation also recommends looking for a complete set of documentation. If the manual isn't included, there may be a problem. Finally, if the price is too good to be true, it's probably pirated. For example, SIIA officials found Corel's WordPerfect Office 2000 selling for $US14.95 on an auction site. The suggested retail price is $299.95.

Yahoo declined to comment on the SIIA report because the company's facing a lawsuit from the top three video game makers regarding pirated games sold on its auction site.

Two weeks ago, video game manufacturers Electronic Arts, and the North American business units of Nintendo and Sega Enterprises joined together in a lawsuit against Yahoo. The companies claim that Yahoo failed to remove illegal auctions from its site after being notified to do so. The firms are seeking an injunction against the Web company.

SIIA's Burek says Yahoo needs to be more vigilant about enforcing its usage terms and reducing counterfeit software sales on its site.

"Yahoo, unfortunately, has the most blatantly pirated auctions, in terms of transferring unauthorised software," Burek says. "Yahoo does not have the systems in place to effectively deal with this."

Burek says a simple way to curb pirated software sales is to prevent sellers from using terms like 'backup,' 'CD-R,' or 'compilation CD' when describing software for auction. "Pirates are lazy and will go where it's easy to sell products, and right now, that choice of venue is going to be Yahoo," he says.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lee Copeland

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?