Assalamualaikum Mufti SB..!
i want to know what is fatwa about software piracy like using pirated version of windows , MS office and other applications….most of people use pirated softwares here in our city including religous people as they dont know it an act of stealing because no scholar of our state has issued any fatwa about it…!
Many of our saathies install softwares in systems of madaris so that their work may become easier but they and the authorities of madaris dont know it is a pirated software and it cant be used on two processors simultaneously without prior permission of the software maker as most of the software used are microsoft products which are costly and follow EULA (End Users License Agreement)…!
So please if there is any fatwa regarding the issue please post it so that i can forward it to our ulemas and they may issue it publicly so that whole ummat (usually muslims from our state) will stop software piracy…!
Although we can use alternatives like open source which are free like linux (opensuse, ubuntu,etc) as OS (operating systems) and AbiWord as word processors and gimp as image processors but common people unaware of these issues (EULA and GNU, Piracy and legal copying) dont use them preferably …!
In any computer using windows EULA is found at “SystemrootSystem32eula.txt.”
For example C:WINDOWSSystem32eula.txt
or from your desktop (in windows) you can type windows_key r (or open run from start menu) then write eula.txt and press enter to see EULA
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Using pirated versions of the original software or programs is known as ‘copyright infringement’. In previous days, the concept of ownership was only confined to tangible items. However, recent technologies have proved that ownership may also take place in non-tangible items. The ownership of a non-tangible property is known as “intellectual property”.
The concept of “intellectual property” demands that the person who applied his mental skills and effort to invent a particular item should be the owner of its profit and benefits. Similarly, if a person has invented a formula or a software using his own skill should be the sole owner of it. No other person should have the right to reproduce it. Due to this reason, the law of copyright came about to protect the inventor from losing his benefits.
The ulamā have differed in their opinion regarding the permissibility of copyrights.
According to us, copyrights and intellectual property is a valid Sharī right. Therefore, the use of pirated software is not permissible. It is an infringement of a valid right.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mawlana Abdul Hannan Nizami
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
 Contemporary Fatawaa by Mufti Taqi Usmani, Pg.188, Idara-e-Islamiat
This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.