More generally, to bootleg
is to transport contraband
of any sort. While the term originated during Alcohol Prohibition
in reference to the carrying of contraband alcohol
in one's boot, it has survived long enough that distributors of FDA
medicines have been described as bootleggers
. (So, for that matter, has Han Solo
Bootlegging is also the second-most-common term for the act of distributing proprietary software in violation of copyright law. The most common term is, of course, piracy -- a term whose usage has the unfortunate connotation that one believes copyright violation to be morally equivalent to rapine, robbery and murder on the high seas.
The image of the bootlegger, like that of the seagoing pirate, is a somewhat romantic image and may seem ill-applied to unwashed warez d00dz. Nevertheless, copyright violation is a crime of contraband, not a violent crime like piracy at sea.