Taking Notes: Eye on Education – University Students and Software Piracy

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – University Students and Software Piracy

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact voice@ausu.org, attn: Debbie Jabbour


The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST – http://www.caast.com) has just released results of an online survey of software piracy, conducted between July 3 and 13, 2005 by researcher Uthink. Of the 3,000 college and university students across Canada who were surveyed (including 500 computer science majors), 47 percent of survey respondents admitted to pirating software.

Although 87 percent of the students consider plagiarism of their work a very serious matter, when it came to using pirated software, only 40 percent considered this to be a serious problem. This was true of the computer science students as well, with 83 percent objecting to someone stealing their own work, yet nearly 64 percent admitting to downloading commercial software from the Internet without paying for it. CAAST calls these statistics alarming, particularly among computer science students, whose “future livelihood could be directly hurt by pirating activities” (Bomar, 2005). CAAST suggests that more education is required so that students can understand the serious implications of their actions.

Bomar (2005, August 12). Half of Canadian university students engage in software piracy. Retrieved from http://marketnews.ca/news_detail.asp?nid=959
CAAST (2005, August 8). News release: Software piracy runs rampant on Canadian university campuses, CAAST survey finds half of all university students acquire software without paying for it. Retrieved from http://www.caast.com/release/default.asp?aID=139