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Software piracy:Will joint effort by vendors and industry associations end the menace?

Yogesh Gupta | March 25, 2013
Software piracy continues to be a menace. How can vendors and industry associations beat this problem?

According to the 2011 Global Software Piracy Study by BSA, India's software piracy rate registered a one point decline in 2011 compared to the previous year, but the value of pirated software sold in the country increased to Rs 13,783 crore. In fact, 43 percent of computer users in India admitted in the survey to acquiring pirated software, says Gouri Thounaojam, manager, Programs-India, BSA | The Software Alliance. BSA is a nonprofit trade association created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners. Its mission is to promote a long-term legislative and legal environment for its members around the world.

The statistics presented by BSA point to the fact that software piracy has not died down in India. The following cases only reinforce that fact.

In January this year, the Delhi Police arrested two resellers with pirated software worth Rs 1.5 crore. More than 2,000 pirated components of Microsoft--mainly Windows 7 Professional Media and Microsoft Office Home and Business--were seized.

Microsoft filed a civil case in the Delhi High Court against KK Software Solutions in December 2012 and claimed Rs 5.7 crore as damages for alleged software piracy in 2008-09.

Creating awareness

To fight the menace, BSA has been working closely with the Government, large enterprises, and SMEs in India to raise awareness about software."We are witnessing high involvement from the Department of Information Technology, Government of India. In fact, the Government is leading by example by managing its own software, and taking this best practice directly to private enterprises," says Thounaojam.

Vendors, IT associations, industry organizations, and channel partners are playing their part to fight the problem. However, it will take a well coordinated effort by independent organizations to decrease and ultimately eliminate pirated software from the Indian market.

Microsoft has been raising awareness among customers and resellers about the risks of counterfeit and pirated software. This, it believes, will enable partners to better protect themselves, and ensure that their software licensing is in order.

"Our strategy is focused on educating and creating awareness among partners and customers on the perils of pirated software. We have devised both offline and online methods to reach out to partners and customers," says Sumeet Khanna, director, Genuine Software Initiative, Microsoft India.

Adobe, too, has been taking the fight to the streets. "We have a highly experienced legal team and are always prepared to answer product and policy questions. We have a case support system which is experienced at helping build and prosecute piracy cases. From identifying targets to maintaining evidence, Adobe is ready to provide organizations with the support they need," says Vineet Sood, director-Channels and Strategic Alliances, Adobe South Asia.


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