McAfee Anti-Piracy Policy

Many businesses and organizations are unaware they may be using illegal software. Illegally distributing and using software is a significant problem that hurts McAfee and all software publishers. Our products, solutions, and services exist to assure the technology that powers your business is secure and available — from the desktop to the network core, and across the servers you rely on to deliver your competitive advantage. We want you to have the information you need so you get maximum value from our products — legally.

Software piracy is a significant problem costing the industry billions of dollars annually. McAfee is committed to educating our authorized users and, when necessary, bringing those violating our licenses into compliance.

Types of Software Piracy
First Steps to Effective Software Management
Where Can I Buy Authorized Software?
Legal Ramifications
Reporting a Case of Software Piracy
Additional Resources



Types of Software Piracy

Software piracy is the illegal distribution and/or reproduction of software. Purchasing software is actually purchasing a license to use the software. That license spells out how you may legally use such software. Any time someone uses the software beyond the scope of the license, that person — or company — is violating the license agreement and copyright law. Whether software piracy is deliberate or not, it is still illegal and punishable by law.

Software piracy comes in many forms. The types that impact McAfee include:

1. Corporate or end user:

  • Underreporting software installations acquired through volume purchase agreements
  • Making additional copies of the software without having the proper number of licenses
  • Swapping disks inside or outside of work

2. Subscription licensing: Using subscription-licensed software past the expiration date.

3. PrimeSupport entitlement: Accessing support entitlements (e.g., .DATs, super .DATs, updates, or upgrades) without a current agreement.

4. Internet piracy: This can occur in many different forms, including:

  • Auction sites that offer counterfeit and/or outdated products
  • Peer-to-peer networks that allow for unauthorized file sharing

5. Counterfeiting: Someone attempts to copy the product and packaging to look like a McAfee original.

6. Hard-disk loading: Some unscrupulous suppliers illegally install software to help sell computers. While many suppliers are authorized to install products onto the machines they sell, honest vendors supply the software via agreements with software vendors.

First Steps to Effective Software Asset Management

To effectively manage your software assets, you’ll need to know what type of McAfee products you have installed on your network. Regular audits can help you determine this. And though you may have policies in place that prohibit employees from making unauthorized copies, those policies do not stop employees from illegally copying software.

Many software audit tools are available to help you determine what type of software is installed on your network. Running these tools and comparing the results to your license documentation is a good first step in determining whether you are in compliance. If you find you are not in compliance, McAfee will work with you to acquire the appropriate McAfee licenses necessary to get back in compliance.

For more information or to report instances of noncompliance, please contact McAfee’s License Compliance Services group.

Where Can I Buy Authorized Software?

You can go to the McAfee website or to the site of one of our partners or resellers.

Legal Ramifications

Software piracy can subject an individual to arrest and criminal prosecution, with fines of up to $250,000 and prison terms of up to five years. In civil cases, McAfee can obtain its lost profits plus the infringer’s profits, or statutory damages of up to $150,000 per product. In addition, McAfee may seek to recover its attorneys’ fees. McAfee also cooperates with federal law enforcement authorities, such as the FBI.

Reporting a Case of Software Piracy

McAfee encourages you to notify us of instances in which a business or individual may be using or distributing our software illegally. Reporting this type of action helps us reduce the overall piracy problem and enables us to better support and modify our existing products.

To report an individual or organization you believe is illegally using or distributing McAfee software, please email McAfee's License Compliance Services Group.

Note: All information is confidential and will only be used by McAfee’s License Compliance Services Group.

Additional Resources

McAfee works with a number of partner organizations to help fight the global problem of software piracy. For more information, tools, and resources, visit:

Business Software Alliance
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright protection, cybersecurity, trade, e-commerce, and other Internet-related issues.

Software & Information Industry Association
The work of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has brought together the leading companies in the software and digital information industry, expanding market opportunities and forging the way toward a stronger industry. SIIA protects its members’ intellectual property and advocates a legal and regulatory environment that benefits the entire industry.