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55 votes
Accepted

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

You're allowed to make backups of copyrighted software, as long as you are authorized to use the software, the backups are not distributed, and they are destroyed when/if you are no longer authorized ...
cHao's user avatar
  • 2,015
35 votes
Accepted

What stops stolen software from offering a valid license?

I've never seen a license agreement like this make that license conditional on having actually paid for the software. Careful reading of license agreements shows that this isn't accurate. Commercial ...
user71659's user avatar
  • 3,724
22 votes
Accepted

Does a shareholder of a company also have copyright rights?

No. Only the company owns the copyright, not its shareholders. A company is a separate legal entity with its own capacity to own property. Copyright is property, not infection that can be spread onto ...
Greendrake's user avatar
  • 27.1k
21 votes

What stops stolen software from offering a valid license?

A computer can’t enter into a contract A EULA is a contract between the software company (not the computer) and the end user. If the software is obtained in a manner authorized by the publisher, then ...
SegNerd's user avatar
  • 5,163
16 votes

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act equivalent for citizens

The US CFAA is by no means limited to "the US government and its financial interests ". It currently applies to any computer which is "protected". 18 USC § 1030(e)(2) defines a &...
David Siegel's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to track users of pirated software?

Building off @DigitalFire's answer, I looked into the TOS related requirements that Google Analytics puts out and I found this on Google Analytic's TOS: You will have and abide by an appropriate ...
Byte11's user avatar
  • 551
10 votes
Accepted

Are pirated movies and software legal for personal use?

No. Not even when you own a CD/DVD version of the movies/software.
Shazamo Morebucks's user avatar
10 votes

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

Copyright law (17 USC 117) specifically allows this: it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
10 votes

Is it legal to track users of pirated software?

In the UK there is the Data Protection Act which prohibits the accumulation and collection of personal data (within a predefined scope) without the consent of the user. If you're unconcerned with ...
S. Whittaker's user avatar
10 votes

John Green once searched something up on a pirated copy of his own book in the US. Is piracy like that illegal even then?

If he owns the copyright, it's not piracy. If he assigned the copyright to someone else, then the terms of the assignment agreement determine whether he has permission (beyond what is allowed to ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 37.9k
9 votes

Is it piracy to obtain software you purchased in an alternate way?

The DMCA prohibits circumvention of technological measures that effectively control access to a copyrighted work. So you can't legally "crack" the software, period -- even if you own a disc containing ...
cHao's user avatar
  • 2,015
8 votes

Is it legal to track users of pirated software?

Just an FYI: If you are uploading it to The Pirate Bay, anyone using it is, by definition NOT pirating it. Even if you put a license or some other language saying otherwise, and later try to enforce ...
whatsisname's user avatar
8 votes

Is it legal to track users of pirated software?

The answer is definitely not as easy as "you can do whatever you wish with your software". If that were true I guess I could create a software that steals credit card numbers and uploads them to a ...
Magnus Lundberg's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How legal is offering abandonware for download?

It is possible to abandon copyright ... maybe. However, this game has not been abandoned. When the owner of the company was liquidated, the copyright became the legal property of the liquidator in ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
7 votes
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Is there anything stopping US States from pirating software now, with this new Supreme Court ruling?

So, as I understand the decision, it's a little more subtle than that. By default, states have sovereign immunity and can't be sued without their consent. Congress can remove ("abrogate") this ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
6 votes

Can I inspect websites' source in teaching video?

Distribution on YouTube implicates, at least, US copyright law. Shropshire v. Canning 809 F.Supp.2d 1139 (N.D. Cal. 2011), Subafilms v. MGM 24 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 1994) Are you infringing? Is the ...
K-C's user avatar
  • 4,024
6 votes

Would a website that catalogs every possible sequence of letters violate copyright?

It's not clear to me that your website is, per se, illegal. (Though good luck finding a webhost with a hard drive large enough to store it. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is roughly 38,000 ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Can copyrighted work be distributed for free if it was done so by the owner previously?

It would be copyright infringement. You had the copyright holders permission to make one copy of the song by downloading it. At that time, if you gave me a copy of that song, it could be argued that ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.3k
4 votes

Are pirated movies and software legal for personal use?

It isn't legal. Here's what might be confusing you: copyright's fair use doctrine does look at whether the use is personal vs commercial. But that's just one thing copyright takes into account. ...
Pat W.'s user avatar
  • 6,114
4 votes

Are pirated movies and software legal for personal use?

Absolutely not in the US either. Under the normal assumed definition of 'pirated', this is clear copyright infringement regardless of your intentions not to re-distribute material. This could violate ...
Jonathan's user avatar
4 votes

Is it illegal to create a website that allows a user to upload a file and make it accessable and downloadable for others?

There are a number of existing legal sites that do this, for free or for pay. The main concern for a website operator pertains to the DMCA "safe harbor" provisions, which protect against vicarious ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
4 votes
Accepted

Is it piracy to obtain software you purchased in an alternate way?

"Piracy", when you are not talking about murderous thugs attacking ships, usually means unethical behaviour related to copying copyrighted works. Piracy is about ethics, "copyright infringement" is ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.3k
4 votes

Why is Software Piracy Considered Theft?

It isn’t theft Theft requires depriving the legal owner of possession permanently. In concept it’s closer to fraud than theft, however, copyright violation is its own crime - neither theft nor fraud....
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
4 votes
Accepted

(EU) Can a license agreement demand a specific compensation for unlicensed use of the software?

Probably not. This condition is what's known as a penalty clause, which is not universally allowed. This article discusses penalty clauses in EU law. In the English-Belgian variety, the clause is ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
4 votes

How to take down the piracy website that does not respond to DMCAs

If a website takes down something that infringes on your copyright because of a DMCA request, the legal effect is that you can’t sue the website, only the person who put the content on the website. If ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.3k
4 votes

Are "Plex servers" as they seem to be commonly used actually illegal?

This is one of those "are kitchen knives illegal since they can be used to kill people" questions. Legally, handing out logins to your private streaming service is no different from simply ...
Greendrake's user avatar
  • 27.1k
4 votes

Is looking up the lyrics for a song illegal?

It is not illegal to look up the lyrics to a song. At this Q&A (Why Genius doesn't have problems with lyrics copyright?), it's explained that Genius has a licence to share lyrics. So does ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 59.5k
3 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to sue a hacker based on his mail?

Yes you can sue for whatever damage has been suffered. However, good luck identifying someone from an email address - they are effectively anonymous. Your friend needs to change all of his passwords ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
3 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to download progamming eBooks from GitHub?

If the blog author holds the copyright on the ebook, they can distribute the ebook anyway they choose, either via download from Github or elsewhere, or sell it in an online store. They hold the ...
BlueDogRanch's user avatar
  • 18.9k
3 votes
Accepted

Using "Educational Use" to circumvent copy-protection?

"Educational use" does not get a free pass on the law against circumventing copy-protection. First, "educational use" is extremely broad and could include "to post on Stackexchange", or "so that I can ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k

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