Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Piracy? Arrr... Walk the plank matey

Baba Gyani Triviani believes in:
"Necessity is the mother of invention. Piracy is a tweaked version of that"

When a crime is committed there are many people who analyse it completely - inside out, the motive, the method etc. And then they write books like psychology of the criminal mind and books with other fancy names. So, in this post, I try to analyse a pirate - Not the one who has a "squacking" parrot on his shoulder, an eye patch, a hook for a hand and a sword in the other, and wooden stub for a leg and screams out "fee fi fo fum" [Oops! or is it "arrr land lubber matey" :-) ] Well anyway, coming back, I am talking about the software pirates, book pirates and music and movie pirates.

Now we first try to see why does piracy even take place? In the entire discussion, I am taking India as the country. In India, I have seen that the software that needs to be bought from a store - the original version, is extremely expensive for a common man. And I am talking about good software. If you try to buy software online, even useless programs that don't do a lot cost $20. And this may not appear to be quite a lot at the outset. It's the conversion of Dollar to Rupee that makes a common man to feel the pinch. If the software cost was reduced to a level where everyone could use it, then, everybody would have definitely bought it. And in India where the number of people is so high, piracy would cease to exist and the companies making the software would continue to make profit.

Same is the case for books. Originals cost somewhere up to five times or sometimes even more compared to the pirated versions being sold on the streets. Thus any average person who reads a novel for the sake of the story or the language, and not to collect the book as a "book" would rather buy five books for the price of one.

The same was the case for movies. However companis such as Moserbaer have come up with this excellent idea of dropping the cost. Earlier an original copy of a movie costed around Rs. 250 or more. Pirated versions were Rs. 50. Again, five times. Whereas, now that Moserbaer has slashed the prices to Rs. 50 I am sure that everyone prefers to buy an original disk.

We need to understand before releasing anything into the market, who the target is, and if it can reach others. Piracy is something that cannot be stopped. With peer to peer programs and rise of torrents [not the high seas] along with unlimited high speed broadband connection, piracy seems to have become easy, and there is no stopping them.

I sincerely hope that prices are brought down and people give up piracy after that. A lot of effort goes in the making of the originals and that needs to be respected. Either buy originals or use open source programs that are free. But this move should come from people of both sides.

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