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Software Piracy Exposed [Paperback]

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Item description for Software Piracy Exposed by Paul Craig, Ron Honick & Mark Burnett...

For every $2 worth of software purchased legally, $1 worth of software is pirated illegally. For the first time ever, the dark underground of how software is stolen and traded over the internet is revealed. The technical detail provided will open the eyes of software users and manufacturers worldwide! This book is a tell-it-like-it-is expos of how tens of billions of dollars worth of software is stolen every year.

Did you know that most of the software on your computer, and nearly every program you've heard of, can be obtained without charge? In less time than it would take you to drive down to your "friendly neighborhood computer store" and purchase a software program, you can download the exact same program from the internet for free! Obtaining something intended to be sold without paying is "controversial" to say the least. But whether you call if "free for the asking," "software piracy," or just out-and-out "stealing;" downloading, copying, and sharing software is being done by thousands of people everyday. This book explains the epidemic problem of software piracy in great detail for both software users and manufacturers.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   310
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 7.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2005
Publisher   Syngress
ISBN  1932266984  
ISBN13  9781932266986  
UPC  792502669846  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Craig, Ron Honick & Mark Burnett

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Craig, QC FBA is Professor of English Law, St John's College, Oxford
Grainne de Burca is Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Digital Business & Culture > Hackers
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > General
3Books > Subjects > Law > Intellectual Property > General
4Books > Subjects > Reference > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Software Piracy Exposed?

Simply terrible  Jun 12, 2006
Software Piracy Exposed is riddled with factual and grammatical errors and contradictory information. The book also contains a completely unrelated and unnecessary chapter on basic computer security. Avoid this book.
Amazing look into the world of digital piracy  Mar 11, 2006
I loved Software Piracy Exposed (SPE), despite the lack of good technical review, copyediting, and proofreading. I liked SPE because the author did original investigative reporting to gain the trust of the pirate underground. By infiltrating the scene, he brought an unprecedented level of access to the common reader. That is real threat reporting, which for me compensates for rough presentation.

SPE is surprising on multiple levels. In one respect, the book shatters myths held by most outsiders. For example, I was shocked to learn that digital pirates hate those who distribute content over peer-to-peer networks. Almost all of the attention from the media, anti-piracy groups, and lawmakers focuses on p2p -- yet real digital pirates hate p2p users too! In fact, the more I read about digital pirates, the more I appreciated that piracy is almost a secondary aspect of the scene. In reality, piracy (outside p2p) is about building a reputation and gaining respect among peers. It seems hardly anyone dealing in stolen content ever uses it -- all they do is crack and trade it to elevate their status in the pirate community.

A second surprise involved the sorts of people active in the pirate scene. This is the advantage of a book like SPE over the competition; SPE is written by a reporter who interviews pirates themselves. In one case, a university network admin hosts a top level pirate site by hiding bandwidth usage from his supervisors. In other cases, top technical schools in Europe with fast connections are favorites of pirate users. On p 53, pirate suppliers -- those who steal media, that is then cracked and distributed -- said they knew of no other supplies who hacked companies to steal media. That ran contrary to my understanding, but I believe it.

I was also highly interested in learning how my own books have been pirated. I was always curious how a book that had never been published as a Microsoft .chm file would appear on p2p networks. SPE reveals that book pirates use stolen e-book credentials to sequentially read and scan text and images. Their custom software then compile a completely new book out of the material they obtain.

The final surprise was the warped sense of morality demonstrated by members of the pirate scene. Consider this quote: "Sadly, the Internet attracts such bottom dwellers, people who in real life have no one to talk to. The anonymity of IRC is a place they revel in. Some of us, though, still maintain ethics and standards." These are the words of the leader of a pirate group! Oddly enough, a few sentences later this person states "I idolize the true friends on IRC." In another case, a pirate who narrowly avoided an FBI sting shares these sobering thoughts: "Now I really don't think piracy was worth it. I have a life, a girlfriend, a job... The worst thing about the scene is how fast you are forgotten; nobody really cares too much after a few months. Is that worth the jail time?" Indeed.

I highly recommend reading SPE. I would skip the four appendices, as I do not believe they add anything noteworthy to the book. If you are a nontechnical person, you will still enjoy reading SPE since it is more about humans and their motivations, and less about technology.
good potential, but badly organized and full of errors  Feb 24, 2006
This is the kind of book that is unique, original, and yet, seems as if it was accepted by the publisher as a first draft. The author makes clearly obvious factual errors every three pages or so. Case in point, he claims P2P is shorthand for "person-to-person". Another doozy: "less than 10 percent of Altair owners never paid for their copy of BASIC" (the exact opposite is true). Some sections of the book, particularly those on internet hacking and usage of firewalls, are completely pointless and out of place. This book was clearly rushed to market. Shame on Syngress for screwing this one up.
Entertaining but flawed  Jan 26, 2006
First, I ran across this book in the bookstore, went home, got a
better price, and read it cover to cover. The book was entertaining
as hell. The only part I didn't particularly care for was the
inclusion in the appendix of what was clearly an overview of
current virus, popup, firewalls and other softwares, which I
considered way off the book's subject.

The problem with the book is that it seems entirely unproofed
(unproofread). Spelling errors are rampant, and the author
appeared to lose control of the book in places, writing

"Sentinel was discovered by the FBI in late 1999, who then
called the FBI"

The various clerical errors could have been overlooked. However,
there were so many technical errors and distortions, I was left
wondering if the author was reporting on what he had witnessed
in the "scene" accurately. He reports again and again that
crackers can defeat any program in minutes or hours, then later
relates on programs that remain uncracked. Which is it ? There
are pronouncements about how certain programs cannot be cracked
when they make windows calls, leading to the conclusion that
the author is not aware that even the Windows kernel can be
debugged. The author talks about dongles being "enveloped",
as a "small deciphering machine". It appears that he wasn't
aware that a dongle can have an onboard CPU, or be a simple
ROM accessible by the main computer. The text reads like
an effort to dance around the fact that he didn't
understand the difference.

The other errors, or if you will, "affectations" of the book
are just annoying. The term "ISO" is used many times in the
book as the term for a CD-ROM image on a computer. The author
does, at one point, give the definition of ISO = International
Organization for Standardization, but never gives the full
definition of "ISO 9660" (or similar). Calling a disk image
an "ISO" is like calling an apple "A grocery" because that's
where you got the apple. ISO has hundreds, if not thousands of
standards. I do realize that such misuse of terms is common
on the internet, but I would expect better from a reporter.

The term "warez" is explained: (exaggerated plural derivative
of software). Not bad, but the author repeats this expansion
over and over again like a bad Saturday Night Live skit.

I liked the book, but would warn that there are better books
to really learn how to protect applications against piracy.
My current favorite is "reversing", but Eldad Eilam, but I have
three books on the subject so far, and I unfortunately find I
know more about it than the writers of these books (and not
because I know more than average).
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me..  Nov 26, 2005
With all the hype currently being generated about digital piracy, I decided it might be interesting to read Software Piracy Exposed by Paul Craig and Mark Burnett. There's an interesting subculture there that's unlike anything I've ever known, and it's not quite what I expected...

Craig spent some time working himself into a position of trust with a number of significant players in the piracy scene. While not participating in the activities himself, he was able to see how cracking and distribution organizations are structured, and what drives the individuals to do what they do. Surprisingly for software piracy, it's not necessarily being able to have and use the software you crack. Mainly it's the bragging rights to say you were the first to crack and distribute the package, or that you have the largest collection and distribution network. I got the distinct impression that most of the hardcore players in this culture don't even have the time to use the software. Since these groups are competing against each other, minutes can be critical in breaking a package open and getting it out first on a network. And as soon as one is done, the next one is waiting. If you spend days cracking something complex and then get beat out by another group by a few minutes, you (and your group) don't get credit for the hack and all the work was wasted. It seems like music and movies are less intense so far as breaking encryption, but a bigger deal to get it out early. Morals and ethics aside, it's a rare look into a strange lifestyle...

While the book is pretty good, it did suffer from some bad basic editing. Acronyms were inconsistently spelled (MP3, Mp3, etc.), and I got tired of seeing the parenthetical description of "warez" showing up time after time. Explain it once at the beginning, and then move on. There were even a couple of times when the explanation of the acronym was just plain wrong. I feel if you're going to publish a technical book, you need to pay attention to these things. Otherwise, it looks shoddy, unprofessional, and rushed. While it wasn't enough to make me dislike the book, it did detract somewhat from what would have been a very good volume otherwise.

Editing aside, it's a worthy read in order to understand the mindset and reality of the piracy and cracking subculture. Software piracy does have a financial effect on copyright owners, but it's not a case of "every copy is a lost sale"...

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