Warez is a common computing and broader cultural term referring to pirated software, distributed via the Internet. Warez is used most as a noun, a plural form of ware, is intended to be pronounced like the word wares; the circumvention of copy protection is an essential step in generating warez, based on this common mechanism, the software-focused definition has been extended to include other copyright-protected materials, including movies and games. The global array of warez groups has been referred to as "The Scene," deriving from its earlier description as "the warez scene." Distribution and trade of copyrighted works without payment of fees or royalties violates national and international copyright laws and agreements. The term warez covers supported as well as unsupported items, legal prohibitions governing creation and distribution of warez cover both profit-driven and "enthusiast" generators and distributors of such items. Warez, its leetspeak form W4r3z, are plural representations of the word "ware", are terms used to refer to "irated software distributed over the Internet," that is, "oftware, illegally copied and made available" e.g. after having "protection codes de-activated".
"Cracking, or circumventing copy protection, is an essential part of the warez process," and via this commonality, the definition focused on computer software has been extended to include other forms of material under copyright protection movies. As Aaron Schwabach notes, the term covers both supported and unsupported materials, legal recourses aimed at stemming the creation and distribution of warez are designed to cover both profit-driven and "enthusiast" practitioners. Hence, the term refers to copyrighted works that are distributed without fees or royalties and so traded in general violation of copyright law; the term warez, intended to be pronounced like the word "wares", was coined in the 1990s. It is used most as a noun: "My neighbour downloaded 10 gigabytes of warez yesterday"; the global collection of warez groups has been referred to as "The Warez Scene," or more ambiguously "The Scene." While the term'piracy' is used to describe a significant range of activities, most of which are unlawful, the neutral meaning in this context is "...mak use of or reproduc the work of another without authorization".
Some groups object to the use of this and other words such as "theft" because they represent an attempt to create a particular impression in the reader:Publishers refer to prohibited copying as "piracy." In this way, they imply that illegal copying is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas and murdering the people on them. The FSF advocates the use of terms like "prohibited copying" or "unauthorized copying", or "sharing information with your neighbor." Hence, the term "software pirate" is controversial. Direct download sites are web locations that index links to locations where files can be directly downloaded to the user's computer. DDL sites do not directly host the material and can avoid the fees that accompany large file hosting; the production and/or distribution of warez is illegal in most countries due to the protections provided in the TRIPS Agreement. Software infringers exploit the international nature of the copyright issue to avoid law enforcement in specific countries.
Violations are overlooked in poorer third world countries, other countries with weak or non-existent protection for intellectual property. Additionally, some first world countries have loopholes in legislation that allow the warez to continue. There is a movement, exemplified by groups like The Pirate Party and scholars at The Mises Institute, that the idea of intellectual property is an anathema to free society; this is in contrast to some of the more traditional open source advocates such as Lawrence Lessig, who advocate for middle ground between freedom and intellectual property. There are four elements of criminal copyright infringement: the existence of a valid copyright, that copyright was infringed, the infringement was willful, the infringement was either substantial, or for commercial gain. Offering warez is understood to be a form of copyright infringement, punishable as either a civil wrong or a crime. Sites hosting torrent files claim that they are not breaking any laws because they are not offering the actual data, rather only a link to other places or peers that contain the infringing material.
However, many prosecution cases and convictions argue to the contrary. For instance, Dimitri Mader, the French national who operates a movie distribution warez site, Wawa-Mania, was fined 20,000 € and sentenced, in absentia, to a year in jail by a European court, for his role in managing the site. In the U. S. through 2004, more than 80 individuals had been prosecuted and convicted for trade in warez products (under the NET Act and other stat