Warez is a common computing and broader cultural term referring to pirated software (i.e. illegally copied, often after deactivation of anti-piracy measures) that is distributed via the Internet. Warez is used most commonly as a noun, a plural form of ware (short for computer software), and is intended to be pronounced like the word wares, . The circumvention of copy protection (cracking) is an essential step in generating warez, and 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 generally violates national and international copyright laws and agreements. The term warez covers supported as well as unsupported (abandonware) items, and legal prohibitions governing creation and distribution of warez cover both profit-driven and "enthusiast" generators and distributors of such items.
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