The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82 the machine was launched as the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black-and-white of its predecessor, the Sinclair ZX81. The Spectrum was ultimately released as eight different models, ranging from the entry level model with 16 KB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 KB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987; together they sold in excess of 5 million units worldwide.
ZX Spectrum was simple, cheap and universal. In Poland it was used in schools, universities, ofices and homes. The main downfall of this computer was a rubber keyboard, not much comfortable in text processing and with short life cycle. Piracy has been cited as a reason for the death of the Amiga, however, piracy was just as prolific on other platforms. For example many games for the ZX Spectrum could be copied using nothing more than an ordinary cassette recorder, leading to a massive culture of playground game trading - that machine however lived a long and fruitful life nonetheless. Along with ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, thousands of pirated programs and games were imported with new economical and cultural practices. This so called “computer fever”, which began about 1984, reached its peak few years later. During the 1980s in Poland, the mass, semi-legal imposition of Western domestic technologies, was a significant phenomenon in the economy and in the culture as well.
So one very interesting kind of software was copiers. Most were piracy oriented, and their function was only tape duplication, but when Sinclair Research launched the ZX Microdrive (later with a diskette system), copiers were developed to copy programs from audio tape to microdrive tapes or diskettes. Best known were the LERM copiers produced by Lerm Software, Omni Copy 2, and others. As the protections became more complex (e.g. Speedlock 1-8) it was almost impossible to use copiers to copy tapes, and the loaders had to be cracked by hand, and unprotected versions produced. Special hardware, like the Romantic Robot's Multiface that was able to dump a copy of the ZX Spectrum RAM to disk/tape at the press of a button, was developed circumventing entirely the copy protection systems. This was illegal in some areas, but in the 1980s most of South and Eastern Europe didn't have software copyright laws.