We've recently received several complaints regarding student use of pirated software applications so they can work on their own computers.
What's especially concerning about the recent complaints is that the software applications being pirated are very specialist software applications normally used in industry or to support teaching. The licensing and use of specialist software is closely monitored by software producers and publishers and they are much more likely to investigate potential misuse and pursue legal action (up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine!).
The University endeavours to make required software applications available to members of the University, either on the student computing service (www.shef.ac.uk/cics/studentcomputing) or through local provisioning. There are also various discount schemes available to members of the University who would like to run software on their own computer (http://www.shef.ac.uk/cics/buying/softwarenotsold).
So, if you are set a piece of work that requires the use specialist software applications first check to see if the application is available on our student computing service. If it isn't then please talk to your tutor or the person setting the work.
Software piracy is a type of copyright infringement where software is used or shared without permission from the copyright holder; for example the software is downloaded using BitTorrent and then cracked. Copyright infringement is not acceptable under any circumstances and the University has a policy that explains what will happen in the event of us receiving an accusation of copyright infringement (www.shef.ac.uk/copyright).
The aim of this blog post is to help you find the software needed to do your work without getting you into trouble!