Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Don’t be ‘soft’ on software thieves [like BARAHA and NUDI KANNADA Fonts in Karnataka State]

Don’t be ‘soft’ on software thieves

Don’t be ‘soft’ on software thieves


If you were to ask someone if he would mind giving his kid stolen candy or a stolen toy, the answer surely would be a ‘No’. However, when it comes to software, the Indian consumer adopts an attitude of indifference. Indeed, the problem of software piracy is confined not just to the common user, but is equally rampant in the enterprise sector where, barring mission critical operations, it wouldn’t mind working on pirated software. Slowly but steadily, piracy has affected the entire software industry.

Software piracy has many implications. It leads to the proliferation of non-genuine products in the market, besides having a huge socio-economic impact in the form of lost job opportunities and earnings for employees, software companies and governments. According to a recent study by the International Data Corporation, it is estimated that a mere 10% reduction in piracy in India, from the current level of 75%, could translate into 1,15,000 new IT jobs, pump in $5 billion as additional revenue and $386 million as additional tax revenue for the economy.

Yet, little has happened at the ground level to curtail piracy. The software industry and enforcement agencies are often in a state of ignorance about this issue. The multi-dimensional aspects of the problem are often ignored by the industry, law enforcement agencies and consumers. While industry gives it an entirely profit-oriented treatment, law enforcement agencies are ignorant about the nitty-gritties of intellectual property and so, are scarcely bothered. Consumers, on the other hand, rest their decisions on just the price and not on what they are buying. A snowballing effect of this has been that the domestic IT market is still finding it difficult to find its feet. Better products are not being offered for fear of piracy, tax revenue is being lost, and consumers are falling prey to unscrupulous entities.

Though there are many ways to curtail piracy, the following measures would set the ball rolling in the right direction:

First, better software designs and collaborative practices should be explored among industry players. Industry leaders, while complaining about piracy, spend little time in improvising their product design. Ever wondered why it is nearly impossible to pirate an anti-virus but quite easy to pirate an application software? The answer is a better and robust design. A collaborative approach among software vendors for better-engineered products which are difficult to pirate is needed.


A 10% reduction in piracy in India from the present level of 75% could translate into 1,15,000 new IT jobs

Second, a consumer-centric approach needs to be adopted by IT vendors, who have been suffering from what I would term an ‘ostrich-like attitude’, burying their heads in the sand and offering products and pricing them with their own logic. Software vendors need to take a closer look at consumer needs.

Most consumers (not enterprises) have little clue about the technology aspect of software and so, depend on the retailer or the person assembling their hardware to make the right choice for them. Their only concern is a cost-effective, usable solution. One that meets their needs and is priced right. Software vendors should thus work towards churning out modular or abridged versions of their products to reduce the price differential between an original and a pirated version. This itself can help curtail software piracy.

As most consumers purchase pirated software unknowingly, efforts should be made to educate them. This can be done by sensitising children, who not only play an important role in the technology-buying decisions of an Indian family, but are also future consumers.

Third, robust laws and better law enforcement practices are needed to curtail piracy. Industry and law enforcement agencies can go the extra mile by educating enforcement personnel about technology infringements and also collaborate with civil society in general. Special incentive schemes, along with punishment for piracy, would be a step in the right direction.

Piracy is a global phenomenon. Even in a country like the US where IP laws are fairly strong, almost a quarter of the market uses pirated software. What’s needed is a pragmatic approach for a gradual reduction in piracy, instead of aiming too high by seeking its total elimination.

The writer is a senior consultant with the programme management unit of the National E-Governance Plan. These are his personal views


October 11, 2006 - Posted by | Kannada Fonts Piracy, Kannada Shalegalu

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