No, you can’t. Using unlicensed software is illegal and a copyright infringement. If you are running a legitimate business, steer clear of any illegally downloaded software.
Unlicensed software is like a stolen car. Yes, you’ll drive it, but when you get caught, it might mark the end of your freedom for a long time. We all know there is plenty of free illegal software on the internet and from shady vendors; some of us have even used cracked software, but if you ever find yourself with one, you are breaking the law.
The Risks of Using Unlicensed Software
If you are legitimate but fall into the trap of unlicensed software, you stand to lose if you get discovered. You might be transacting with an online user and they could take notice. If this happens, legal action might follow and hefty fines thereafter. You could lose everything while compensating the real owner of the software due to copyright infringement.
Some computers detect unlicensed software and fail to install them. Such a computer will begin to malfunction if you insist on installing unlicensed software. You could waste so much time and resources trying to use stolen goods. Your employees could be in on the unlicensed software deal, but this could come crumbling in your face if you faced an audit.
Most software companies have implemented measures to seal this loophole. You might purchase or download unlicensed software only to find that it doesn’t work. You might lose business deals while at it; not worth it at all.
Why do people use unlicensed software?
If you think about it, many people risk it all and use the unlicensed software. It must have pros and cons, right? Let’s look at them.
|It is free||It’s illegal|
|It works||No customer support|
|Easy to obtain||Cold contain viruses|
|Can cost you so much in fines and penalties|
|Its productivity is below par|
From our comparison above, the writing is on the wall. Everything illegal comes with a price. Don’t risk it, use what is legal and help grow the software industry.
What if I get Caught Using Unlicensed Software?
You have probably fallen into the trap and the law has caught up with you. The first step is to engage a lawyer who deals with issues like these. I don’t know what the defense would be, but I can guess the lawyers would argue that you didn’t know it was illegal or you didn’t know it was unlicensed software.
If you’re concerned that your business might be using unlicensed software, it is advisable to do a software audit and get things right.
What is unlicensed software?
This is software obtained or used without the license of the owner. It can include use, distribution, or sharing without authorization.
Can I report unlicensed software?
Yes, you can report anonymously to the Federation against Software Theft (FAST).
How much is the fine for using unlicensed software?
It could cost you $150,000 for every instance or a five-year jail term.