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(also softloading, end-user piracy)

Softlifting definition

Softlifting is the act of installing or sharing a legally obtained copy of software in a way that goes against its license agreement. Softlifting is the most prevalent form of software piracy and is considered a cybercrime in some jurisdictions.

In some cases, perpetrators of softlifting are not aware that they are doing something wrong, believing that a legally obtained software copy can be used as the user sees fit.

Origin of the term softlifting

The term “softlifting is a portmanteau of “software” and “lifting” (slang for “stealing”).

Real softling examples

  • Multiple installations: If the software license specifies that it can only be installed and used on one device at a time, installing it on other devices would be considered “softlifting.”
  • Sharing software: Many license agreements explicitly prohibit letting others (such as friends and family) install software that had been personally licensed to the user.
  • Unqualified user: Some versions of software are sold at a discount to special groups like (high school or university students). Purchasing, installing, and using this software while not a member of the specified group is a form of softlifting.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security