‘We are Never Going to be Satisfied’

How successful is the hotline you have in association with Nasscom?

We have managed to get quite a few leads on that number and we hope that more
people would volunteer and inform us incase their organization or someone they
know uses unlicensed software.

l How
are the other inmates of the APAC region faring vis-a-vis piracy

Actually the piracy rate has gone up in India to 71% in 2001. That is not good
news. We have managed to educate the police and recently they conducted raids in
Nehru Place and managed to seize about 2000 CDs. Now the police here can make
out the difference even from the packaging. But it’s not as alarming as its in
the West as high-end stuff is still not floating around. The kind of pirated
stuff available in the market today is not very sophisticated or high-end. India
ranks high in the Asia-Pacific region but the piracy rate in China has inched
higher to 92%. China has recognized the threat. They also have a special budget
for software. But there exists a complaint against us that we are picking on
developing countries.

& regional director, APAC, Business Software Alliance

l How
exactly do you operate?

What we do is mainly complaint-based so we need leads from existing or past
employees of organizations. We are not empowered to conduct a random search or
raid. We need to go via the legal channel for that. But there are also cases of
these people not agreeing to coming out in the open when presented before a
judge and that means a dead-end and then despite the knowledge of the usage in a
company we are unable to take action against them. Then we mail them or issue
warnings that we are aware of their activities and that they need to pull up
their socks or they are prone to civil or criminal proceedings. And once they
have been found guilty then they generally tend to refrain given that we do
conduct periodic raids/checks on them. But it’s a vicious circle and not
something you can wipe away for good, though that is what we would like to do

l What
would you say is the most prevalent form of piracy?

With the Internet penetration having increased that has become a major route of
piracy. But then again resellers are another source of concern though this
exercise with the police is proving beneficial. And the growing awareness will
help curb it further.

l What
is the one major challenge you face in India?

Well awareness has to increase and its alarming that there has been an increase
in actual figures over last year. India should also have the optical disk
legislation. There are laws in place and penalties are strong but with the
growth in retail etc there is a spurt in piracy. A lot needs to be done on the
enforcement front. The four steps that will help strengthen the anti-piracy
movement will be educating the people on the use of legal software, legislation,
training to recognize legal stuff, and proper enforcement.

l Will
piracy remain an underlying monster as long as we remain connected to the PC?

Piracy is an ongoing thing and with the innovations in technology there will be
attempts to indulge in such illegal activities. It is not a phenomenon that will
die out in entirety. It might come down substantially and there may be increased
respect for intellectual property rights etc. Similarly one cannot expect to
conduct a raid and thereby cleanse the entire system. We are never going to be
satisfied and we need help, as there is so much to protect. You can not afford
to let your guard down ever.

Dhanya Krishnakumar

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