12 Sep 2022


Theft of Software: How to Protect Your Business from the Growing Threat of Software Piracy

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Academic level: University

Paper type: Case Study

Words: 1895

Pages: 6

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Project management is an important objective that should be observed closely within the organization’s operations. This is seen as an important practice as it will ensure the achievement of short-term goals that have been identified by the organization. Further, it is important to keep a close eye on a project as it is a basic means of ensuring it is carried out in accordance to the ethical standards of the organization. When carrying out a project, this means that new activities are being carried out by the organization and this may often lead to straying away from the values that are observed by the firm. The ethical standards that are also set by the ruling governments of the region are also considered to ensure that operations carried out are legal. The following paper focuses on a case study involving the Primal Picture firm. The paper will identify the various issues in project management and the ethical point of view for these issues. Further, ethical principles will be provided that will help ensure similar events do not take place again. 

Summary of Case Study 

The case study focuses on Primal Picture firm a London based organization that is involved in the production of software that enables the provision of 3D models of human anatomy. As a result, it is evident that the organization is an important stakeholder in the field of medicine (Federation Against Software Theft, 2012). The organization enables the provision of effective medical training particularly practitioners and students. However, it may be helpful to training patients on the practices they should undertake to achieve a healthy lifestyle. The software is believed to be integral in medical use particularly in the twenty or more countries within which it is available. It is unfortunate that the organization faces the risk pertaining to the protection of its intellectual property. As a result, the discussion below identifies the issues associated with the project management of that is aimed at protecting the company’s intellectual property. 

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According to research, the Primal Picture organization was established in 1991 and has been a key player in the accurate modeling of human anatomy. The organization has been involved in the provision of 3D animations that indicate the functions, biomechanics and surgical processes that the students and practitioners are required to learn. The organization will usually undertake numerous projects each year as a means of customizing the different models according to the specific needs of the client. This is particularly in marketing practices of a client or training programs that will show step by step processes of surgery and the occurrence of a disease. The statistical impact of software piracy in the UK may be hard to quantify. This is due to the lack of adequate studies on the issue despite it being identified as a major problem in the country. As of 2009, the IT sector was providing 590,000 jobs to professionals that would result in the payment of taxes amounting to £43 billion. The IT sector is therefore a key factor in driving the economy just as software drives IT. 

Project Management Issues and Ethical point of View 

Primal Pictures would then partner with Federation Against Software Theft (FAST). The latter is an organization that seeks to identify perpetrators of software or intellectual piracy and bringing them to justice. The organization has been seen to target the hosting websites online that are involved in the distribution of illegal copies of software for free that should otherwise be paid for. The torrent websites themselves do not maintain the illegal copies of software that are distributed. Rather they offer an open forum that have been used in the exchange of the software or may offer alternative links to users seeking to find the product. In this regard, the torrents serve the consumers as they provide expensive intellectual property, free of charge (Xiaobai, 2005). The project has encountered this as a major problem as the creation of these open forum websites is not illegal. However, it is the distribution of intellectual property that is unwanted. In this regard, FAST and Primal Pictures find it difficult to place blame on a particular individual for their role in distributing copyright material. 

The ethical point of view identified in this case is the issue of accountability whereby in the process of seeking the participants of piracy of intellectual property, the organizations have had a difficult time in placing blame on a single person. The members of the organization have been identified to have significant resources of searching for the illegal products sold online. However, the active participation of numerous individuals in the sharing of the software has been difficult to take legal action against a perpetrator (Smith, 2013). This is particularly evident in the case of torrent websites that only create a platform for users to exchange the file. The legal loophole results in the owners of the open forum websites going scot free without significant legal action taken against them. 

Another project management issue that the organization encountered is the inability to follow up on discs sold that have been used in the creation of copies and used in internet shops. The continued globalization practice by Primal Pictures has resulted in sales beyond just the United Kingdom as the company has reached consumers in China, America and other European countries. The tracking of these numerous products sold worldwide has been is identified as close to impossible. This will result in continued loss of sales for the firm as the consumers of the product face significant risks associated with the purchase of illegal products (Hilty, 2014). The organization with assistance from FAST will have to incorporates various strategies that will enable the capturing the involved retailers of the Primal Pictures products as they commit fraud (Mtima, 2015). The organization is also tasked with the objective of proving the guilt of a perpetrator beyond any doubt. 

The ethical issue identified in this case is that of privacy of individuals who use the internet. The age of the internet has led to a significant the laws of privacy being violated by the numerous users along with corporations. The two companies may face significant privacy infringement suits if an individual identifies that the organization has been tracking his or her internet activities without their knowledge (Popper, 2014). Primal Pictures may face significant losses due to such suits that may arise. The organization faces liability issues whereby their failure to controlling the illegal products in the being purchased by the consumer leads to significant damages sustained by the consumer. These include inability to upgrade product resulting in poor quality products or the presence of viruses that are present in the online software. The organization may lose out on numerous consumers who believe that the products they purchased was of poor quality and led to significant damages to their computing systems. 

Ethical Principles that Might help Prevent Recurrence 

The organization should undertake the Utilitarian ethical principle that identifies that action taken should be that which achieves the highest value (Laudon & Laudon, 2012). Through this course of taking action, an organization is able to act in accordance to the most important and valuable products. The organization may have numerous courses of action that may be incorporated to ensure the most valuable products are kept safe from infringement practices by the internet users. The members of the society have been active in the internet use, similarly the firm should undertake measures of following up on their products and their consumers in a bid to ensure they are not involved in creation of illegal copies. Alternative actions may be chosen to ensure the organization does not have to encounter the risks and consequences involved in copyright infringement. 

The ethical rule of “no free lunch” should be incorporated by Primal Pictures Company as a means of avoiding the recreation of their products. The ethical principal dictates that virtually all tangible and intangible products that have been created by an individual or corporation are solely owned by the innovative group behind it (Lobel, 2015). As a result, if the product that the person or company has created has the potential of generating significant value or solve a particular problem, an individual should assume that the creator requires some compensation associated with the work. The incorporation of this ethical principle by the organization will be a major factor in creating awareness against intellectual property piracy. 

The risk aversion principle could also be significantly incorporated by the company to avoid future events such as the present case (Laudon & Laudon, 2012). The ethical principle requires that the organization in question should undertake an action that will incur the least cost or result in minimum harm for the firm. The organization may seek to undertake the highest form of technology use in the creation of their products as a means of ensuring that CDs or online software cannot be copied into alternative forms (Asongu, 2015). The organization will achieve the highest value through this action where they are able to prevent copyright infringement by internet users and save up on the use of funds for investigation purposes. 

The Golden rule should also be incorporated as a major ethical standing from the perspective of the organization. In this rule, the organization is identified to undertake the belief that you should “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” (Laudon & Laudon, 2012). The ethical rule reflects on the decision making tendencies of the organization and its involved stakeholders in ensuring copyright piracy is not encountered in the products produced (Thong & Yap, 1998). The organization will seek to warn the potential consumers who seek to copyright the material of the organization of the consequences involved once an individual is caught up in the fraudulent practice. The organization will take legal action on the perpetrators of intellectual property and liability will be placed on significant complaints from consumers who have acquired company products from them. 

The Descartes’ rule of change could also be applied as an ethical principle that governs the laws governing the products of the organization. The rule is also identified as the slippery-slope rule. The ethical points out that if an action cannot be repeated numerous times, it is possible that the action should not be taken at all. The organization should use the ethical rule to address the consumers and the perpetrators of copyright practices (Grimm & Anderl, 2013). These individuals should identify that the organization are significantly involved in monitoring their products such that any such action will result in the legal action against the particular perpetrators (Gibbons, 2014). 


Through the above case, it is evident that the infringement of intellectual property is an ongoing activity that is heavily affecting the IT sector. The highly skilled professionals have been infringed by the numerous internet users that have been found to use open forums that are available for sharing illegal copies of the company’s products. Numerous ethical rules are broken by the perpetrators and retailers of illegal products that may result in legal action. However, in multinational corporations like Primal Pictures identifying the ideally involved persons may be difficult particularly in a bid to take action against these persons. As a result, the above proposed ethical principles may be incorporated as a means of organizations avoiding intellectual property piracy. 


Asongu, S. (2015) “Fighting Software Piracy in Africa: How Do Legal Origins and IPRs Protection Channels Matter?” Journal of the Knowledge Economy , 6, 4: 682-703. 

Federation Against Software Theft (2012) Taking Down the Pirates at Primal Pictures . Primal Pictures, Online. Retrieved from https://primalpictures.com/Uploads/doc_pdf/Primal_Pictures_works_with_FAST.pdf 

Gibbons, L. J. (2014) “Fake It Till You Make It: A Justification For Intellectual Property "Piracy".” Indiana Law Review , 48, 1: 65-101. 

Grimm, M. & Anderl, R. (2013) “Intellectual Property Protection and Secure Knowledge Management in Collaborative Systems Engineering”, Procedia Computer Science , 16: 571-680. 

Hilty, L. M. (2014) “Ethical Issues in Ubiquitous Computing – Three Technology Assessment Studies Revisited”, Springer : pp 1-16. Retrieved from http://publicationslist.org/data/lorenz.hilty/ref-226/2014_Hilty_Ethical_Issues_Ubiquitous_Computing_AAM.pdf 

Laudon, K. & Laudon, J. (2012) Management Information Systems , 12 th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Print. 124-164. 

Lobel, O. (2015) “The New Cognitive Property: Human Capital Law and the Reach of Intellectual Property.” Texas Law Review , 93, 4: 789-851. 

Mtima, L. (2015) “Copyright and Social Justice In The Digital Information Society: "Three Steps" Toward Intellectual Property Social Justice.” Houston Law Review , 53, 2: 459-504. 

Popper, A. F. (2014) “More than the Sum of All Parts: Taking on IP and IT Theft Through a Global Partnership”, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property , 12: 253. 

Smith, B. L. (2013) “Technology and Intellectual Property: Out of Sync or Hope for the Future”, Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal , 23:619. 

Thong, J. Y. & Yap, C. S. (1998) “Testing and Ethical Decision Making Theory: The Case of Softlifting”, Journal of Management Information Systems , 15, 1: 213-237. 

Xiaobai, S. (2005) “A dilemma for developing countries in intellectual property strategy? Lessons from a case study of software piracy and Microsoft in China.” Science & Public Policy , 32, 3: 187-198. 

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