Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

6.13. I constantly hear rumors about "pirate" FTP sites that contain commercial software. Do they exist? Can someone send me a list of them?

Looking for the latest version of PageMaker, SimCity 2000, or Windows but unwilling to pay outrageous prices for software? Welcome to the club. Seriously, the answers to these questions are yes and no. FTP sites specializing in pirated (also known as bootlegged) software do indeed exist. You probably won't find out about any of them, however.

In most civilized countries, wanton duplication of commercial software is illegal and carries a severe criminal penalty. The people who operate and use pirate FTP sites and bulletin board systems realize this, so they give access information only to a select few trusted friends, lest the FBI, SPA (Software Publishers Association), or any other group with an acronym for a name should find out about it. Unless you are known and trusted by someone who uses or runs a pirate software site, no one will tell you about them.

Public knowledge of such a site would cause it to come crashing down in a matter of days, either by sheer mass of users glutting themselves on free software, or by the law. Or both.

Note: The short answer is that software piracy is illegal and the use of the Internet to make illegal copies of commercial software is illegal, too.

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