Legal Information

Intuit and anti-piracy

Anti-Piracy Information

This page provides basic information on software piracy and its negative effects on businesses and consumers, including the risks associated purchasing or using counterfeit software.

What is software piracy?

Software piracy is the duplication, distribution or use of software without authorization from the copyright owner. It includes:

It's important to understand that software is not owned by an end-user, but rather licensed to the end-user by the copyright owner through an End-User License Agreement, often referred to as the EULA. The EULA contains the terms and conditions for using the software. Software publishers maintain ownership of the software they create, and control the right to duplicate and distribute their products.

Why is software piracy an important issue?

Piracy is not just a concern for software publishers; it also affects consumers and the economy as a whole. Both the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimate that up to 40 percent of installed business software worldwide, and 23 percent in the U.S., is illegally copied. Software theft and its related effects -- including lost jobs, wages and tax revenues -- totaled an estimated $8.7 billion in the U.S. in 2002.

Other negative effects of piracy:

What are the different types of piracy?

Here are three primary types of piracy:

Organized counterfeit sales - This is the illegal duplication and sale of copyrighted software without authorization from the copyright owner and can result in both civil and criminal penalties. These sales frequently occur online, including through online auctions and online storefronts, as well as through physical venues like flea markets and swap meets. To protect yourself from counterfeit software, please see the section below entitled "What you should watch out for when buying software".

Unlicensed use - This occurs when people and companies (including their employees) reproduce or share copies of software without adequate licenses. Unlicensed use can occur when:

Hard-disk loading - This is the unauthorized installation of software onto new or used computers by another person or company, typically to make the purchase of the computer a better deal.

What are the legal penalties for software piracy?

What should you watch out for when buying your software licenses?

If you are buying a license to use Intuit software from someone other than Intuit or a well-known, trusted retailer, you should watch out for the following warning signs:

Previously registered software - If the product is being advertised as "used" or "previously registered," its license is generally not transferable. Any attempted resale would therefore be prohibited. If you have questions about a particular auction or a copy of Intuit software you received from an online seller, please contact Intuit via e-mail at

Restricted-use software - Restricted-use versions of Intuit software, such as academic, not-for-resale, hardware-prebundled or trial versions, may only be acquired by qualified users and generally cannot be resold. Sales of these versions on auction sites, so-called "discount software" sites or elsewhere, may violate the EULA and may not be permitted by law.

Multi-license packs - Some Intuit software products are available in 5- or 10-license packs or other configurations. As explained in the license terms, such packages cannot be broken up and sold separately.

"CD-ROM only" sales without proper packaging - Authentic Intuit software CDs that are sold by legitimate resellers are always packaged in Intuit-manufactured and branded packaging and never packaged for resale in plain-white sleeves or plastic jewel cases. Software offered for sale without legitimate Intuit-branded packaging may indicate that it is not genuine or legally licensed.

Additionally, authentic Intuit software CD-ROMs are always manufactured using a sophisticated printing process where the ink is screened directly onto the surface of the CD-ROM. Intuit does not use paper or plastic CD labels that merely stick to the top surface of the CD. Additionally, Intuit software is always manufactured on CD-ROM media, not so-called CD-R media -- a recordable disk medium that is typically used to "burn" copies of music and movies and which often has serial numbering on the plastic inner ring of the CD.

"Too good to be true" pricing - While some offers may seem like a "great deal," buyers may not get what they expect. Those victimized by purchasing counterfeit software may expose themselves to the risks noted above. Additionally, buyers will ultimately need to purchase a legitimate license (or licenses) to continue using the software lawfully. As the old adage says, "If it looks too good to be true, it usually is!"

What can you do if you unwittingly obtained pirated software?
Please report it to Intuit. We will investigate the source of the software and take appropriate action, where necessary.