1. Is there any law for using unlicensed or cracked software for our personal use?
  2. Can we use cracked versions of software in organization?

2 Answers 2


(1) It's called copyright law, and it makes it illegal.

(2) You can, but copyright law says it's illegal, and may be criminal, so this might end up very, very expensive.


In the US, under 17 U.S. Code § 1201 - Circumvention of copyright protection systems part of the so-called Digital Millineum Copyright Act (DMCA):

(a)(1) (A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.


(a) (3) (A) to “circumvent a technological measure” means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

(a) (3) (B) a technological measure “effectively controls access to a work” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

There are various exceptions, but none of them apply to the situation described in this question. Under the DCCA such circumvention becomes copyright infringement, and is subject to a suit for damages by the copyright owner (just as for any other infringement), and in some cases may be subject to criminal prosecution.

If access to or use of the content would otherwise be permitted as a fair use under US law, it has been argued that the DMCA should not apply. The DMCA itself does not provide such an exception, althoguh it does provide a mechanism for exceptions to be proposed and accepted or rejected by a regulatory process every two years. The law is not as fr as I know settled whether a fair use claim would permit circumvention. Nor is it clear that "personal use" would always be considered fair use, particularly if it reduced the market for the original, or would do so if widely practiced. Fair use determinations are always highly fact-driven.

This answer is very US-specific. The question did not specify a jurisdiction.


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