Sunday, July 12, 2009

Piracy


All right, (do I have a bad habit of saying All right every time I start?) time for another serious topic, ie Piracy. I am sure all of you must be well aware as to what piracy is? Am assuming you have some basic idea, definitely (after all the probability that you yourself have indulged in piracy is over 99%) and am not going to bother giving a lame, detailed technical explanation. (Am leaving that for the experts).




To start with, piracy in India is ubiquitous. There is no denying the fact. 9 out of 10 PC’s in India contain some form or the other of Pirated Software, O.S., etc. Pirated films, games, music cds, etc are all very common and part and parcel of our everyday life. Just venture out of your home, and I am pretty sure you will find a shop which sells pirated goods, faster than you find a shop selling fresh vegetables. ‘Okays, so we know all that already. Whats your point?’


Why is piracy so popular, you may ask? Is it not illegal? Of course it is, according to Section Something Something of the IPC, piracy is illegal and banned, and the culprit is liable for prosecution, blah blah. Oh come on, does anybody honestly bother about that? Piracy is so popular, simply because nobody actually wants to spend a gargantuan amount of money on purchasing items, which he/she can get at a fraction of the cost, or even for free. Only a dumb person would willingly pay more for an item, which he can get easily at no cost, right?


Yep, that’s the main reason. And with the penetration of broadband in India, torrents have become immensely popular. Now anybody can easily download whichever movie or game he wants online, absolutely free. So why should he walk down all the way to an ‘Original Store’ selling original stuff, to pay thousands of bucks for an item, which he can get sitting at home(and yes for FREE)? This is the reason why piracy exists and will continue to exists, unless the Government takes some strict steps against it. Yes, the policies of the private companies are not sufficient in stopping piracy.


To start with, I personally feel that the pricing policies followed in India, by International Companies, are strictly inaccurate in the sense, that almost everything they sell here is overpriced(according to the Indian consumer). Majority of the Indian population belongs to the middle or poor class category. Such people simply can’t afford the extravagant prices set by those companies. The average salary of a middle class person ranges from 15k to 20k per month. How do you expect such a man to pay around 10k or more for a software product? And quite frankly, why should he? If he can get that software for free? There is absolutely no reason for him to do so.


I will take a few examples here. ‘Microsoft Office 2007’ is priced at Rs. 4,999(last I checked, it may have changed). And ‘Windows XP SP 3’ is around Rs. 7,500. Can you imagine such items within the budget of an ordinary man? I certainly can’t. Yet Microsoft cites innumerable excuses on why they are unable to reduce the prices of their products, as they have to set quality standards, security, duty costs, updates, blah blah blah. The common man is totally unwilling to hear such jargon. Microsoft India has lost billions of dollars due to piracy, in India, and will continue to lose more, unless it brings about a change in its absurd pricing policy here.
The only ones, who can afford such products, are opulent people, and big organizations, business or otherwise. Moreover, lack of awareness, and lack of investment in the advertisement sector is also another reason for the rise of piracy. In the Western countries, huge amount of money is invested on advertising the harmful effects of piracy, and the risks involved in it. In India, hardly anyone is bothered to advertise this, and lesser number of people are willing to listen to them.


For a person, using a PC, security and loss of data do not mean that much, as they would, to say, a private company. So he is quite willing to purchase pirated products, and use them, even if his Computer crashes as a result, since he can always format and re-install applications when required. And quite frankly, pirated products do NOT always cause trouble. I have seen many computers run impeccably on pirated software and/or OS. Just because they MAY cause some trouble sometime in future, is simply not an incentive big enough for an ordinary middle class person to go and purchase original stuff. Proper awareness needs to be generated.


Moreover, the Government is quite lax over piracy. It should take stricter steps in enforcing the law and punishing the guilty, who supply and distribute pirated cds/dvds, etc. The piracy business is ever flourishing, but it causes losses in billions of rupees for all the major industries which invest here. Be it the filming industry, gaming industry, software industry, etc. Most people prefer to watch a film on their PCs for free, rather than wasting 100 bucks to watch it in a cinema hall. Similar is the situation for gaming. I suppose all of you know the costs of original games in India? They range usually from 500(low ended) to over 3000 bucks(for PS3, Xbox 360) etc. Quite frankly, no sensible gamer will waste that much amount of money in purchasing games, when he can easily get them for free(or at a very low rate for pirated DVDs).


But I also feel that games are highly over-priced in India for majority of the people. I will give another example. Recently, Sony has reduced the price of the Playstation 2 to around Rs. 6000(or less). But the price of a single PS2 game is constant, ranging from 800 to 1500 bucks. So if you buy just 4-5 of such games, you can buy a new PS2 itself, with the amount. Isn’t this ironical, not to mention quite lame? This is almost like making the refill costlier than the pen. So who on earth is going to buy original products, if the pricing itself is so messed up?


Indian consumers simply do not want to pay for software. They assume it to be freely installed and present when they purchase a PC. So most of their dealers install pirated software as a result. And most users, blatantly start using them, without bothering to check if its pirated or not. Even if they do find out its pirated, they don’t do anything about it. (What do you expect them to do, go and pay thousands of rupees to the original supplier?). In a recent survey, it has been found that over 90% of PC users , work with pirated versions of Windows(XP and Vista). This is indeed an alarming rate. But if the price remains sky high, you can’t expect any magical change to happen, in the results.


But this does not mean that I support piracy. On the contrary, I condemn it. It causes insurmountable losses and scares off major MNCs from investing in India, something which can generate adequate employment. But I also feel that this is something, which simply cannot be removed easily, especially in the Indian society. So piracy is here to stay, whether you like it or not.

6 comments:

manjushaa said...

Very well said.Kudos:)It's true that the only reason why the indian consumers prefer going for pirated stuff instead of the original is because they don't want to be fleeced.The govt leaves no stones unturned in usurping our earnings either.For every damn thing except Air WE have got pay taxes so i wouldn't be too surprised if piracy continues to thrive.

Animesh Ray said...

Hmmm... ethically I should be agreeing with you... but being such a lavish patron of pirated stuff myself... alas I cannot agree with you.

I welcome you to have a look in my blog as well.

Satwinder Singh said...

@Manjushaa: thanks

@Animesh: Will do so asap.

Jоқєя, ┼ЋЭ said...

There is always an open source freeware alternative to every overpriced piece of code that these MNCs throw at us. So if I couldn't pirate something, I would not buy it anyway. I'll just get OpenOffice. That means they haven't lost a single dime because of me pirating. If you wanna support your favorite artist, go to their gig and buy shit there.

Piracy works.

Jоқєя, ┼ЋЭ said...

One thing I forgot, why would I go to Chandigarh or Ludhiana just to get a damn DVD when I get it here while I'm sleeping O_O;

Dhiraj said...

listen when u r talking about poor people especilly about the south asian countries,well most of don't even bother to buy expired products when thigs are on sale......so without knowing or already knowing about piracy we always think of cheap servies and not of the after effects but perhaps this how ur mindset is.Anyways u have spoken ERRR! Blogged the thought of the youth like us Thank u

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