Piracy has always been a concern with technology over the years. Organizations strive hard to analyze the requirement of the hour of computer users and then develop software that can fully ease the problems of a user. The organizations that develop software obviously need to have a return for their attempt. The software developers’ job is a tough one, because they put off their sleep in order to maintain a tempo in the development of software and organizations often find it difficult to meet the exact requirements on ordered software, due to which several revisions are done on the software before it gets into a final product.
The software development market is generally divided into two categories, Open Source software and Close Source software. The Open Source software is the one that are free to use, and the organizations or individual developers who develop this software encourage its distribution, usage and at times modifications according to the requirement of the user. The Source code, which has all the development procedures are provided to the user in this category, therefore the modifications become easy when the software gets into the hand of another developer. (Frederick, 2007)
These are great for learning purpose and often are used by immature developers to get help in development. The Close Source software are contrastingly different, the users need to buy these software just like any product in the market and often these kind of software get customer support and trainings “how to”, so that the user gets full value for his money. The close source software is ones, that are stable and they go through different processes before its final launch. The organization that develop these software often register them with their name so that copyrights and license usage law is applied on them.
The licensure law ensures the organization that the software bought but a person will be used according to organization’s specified conditions. (Albacea, 2005) In this particular case where the friend is offering to split the cost is a violation of licensure law. Microsoft is a large enterprise and it develops close source software that are copyrighted and licensed according to their terms and conditions. When my friend bought Microsoft Office, in the product pack he had been provided the terms for use of the product, which states that sharing of the product is a violation to the licensure law.
Ethically this is very wrong because Microsoft develops the software after several procedures and analyzing the market conditions, and the price $300 for the office suite the charged is based upon cost analysis of one person. The sharing of one-user license is almost equal to as stealing of a product; because the organization is charging for once only from the user but at the same price another user using the same product free of cost. There have been several discussions conducted in small to large enterprises that develop software about piracy and violation of usage licensure.
However many steps have been taken to minimize the violation and organizations also offer some package deals where multiple licenses are discounted which saves a lot of cost of user. This ethical violation of licensure law has been minimized to some extend now due to efforts but it also depends upon the inner self of a person to realize the attempt that an organization does in order to develop the software and stealing the software reduced their return which is an ethical issue.