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Article by Mohan Babu


Combat piracy, protect IPR

NASSCOM’s initiatives have reduced software piracy in India, but as Indians move up the value chain and start developing software solutions for global clients, it becomes imperative that we project a cleaner image in the global marketplace, writes MOHAN BABU

An interesting news item caught my attention last week. The news, reported by Dailynews on Yahoo was titled, “Overland Park bust allegedly yields pirated videos”. The story highlighted the rampant prevalence of piracy of Indian movies that regularly takes place in the US. It also made me sit-up and think about the significance of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).

As per the news story, two (Indian) businesses were raided, and supposedly, thousands of bootlegged video recordings were found. “The music and movie recordings on tape and DVD are from famous Indian and Pakistani artistes. One film was just released in theatres in India last Friday,” the article went on to say. Even though America has some of the most stringent anti-piracy and intellectual property laws, along with rigid enforcement, native movies slip through the cracks.

Similar to the piracy of videos is the prevalence of software piracy. American companies spend billions of dollars trying to protect their valuable intellectual properties. Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the foremost organisation dedicated to promoting legal software. The organisation states: “Software is one of the most valuable technologies of the Information Age, running everything from PCs to the Internet. Unfortunately, because software is so valuable, and because computers make it easy to create an exact copy of a program in seconds, software piracy is widespread. From individual computer users to professionals who deal wholesale in stolen software, piracy exists in homes, schools, businesses and government.

Software pirates not only steal from the companies that make the software, but with less money for research and development of new software, all users are hurt. That’s why all software piracy—even one copy you make for a friend—is illegal.” The statistics on piracy are staggering. Although seeing a bit of a decline in the past decade, it is still prevalent.

Software piracy is a global phenomenon with most of the under-developed countries openly flouting international piracy laws. Interestingly, India does not figure very high on the list of international culprits when it comes to software piracy. In India, during 1999, software piracy amounted to about 60 percent. This is still low compared to about 91 percent in China and 89 percent in Russia during that time. Even though the percentage of piracy is high in different parts of the world, the regions with the highest dollar losses in 1999 were North America and Western Europe.

With the largest economies concentrated in these regions, along with the highest concentration of PC and software markets, even a low rate of piracy translates to a very high amount. In 1999, Asia’s dollar losses were $2.8 billion whereas in the US alone the loss due to piracy was $3.2 billion.

NASSCOM’s initiative to thwart piracy has helped reduce software piracy in India from a high of about 89 percent in 1993 to 60 percent during 1999. As Indians move up the value chain and start developing software solutions for global clients, it becomes imperative that we project a “cleaner” image in the global marketplace. It will be difficult to police the misuse of Indian software and systems in the global marketplace, if we do not eat our own cooking.




About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
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    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


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