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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?

"We work closely with IT associations across the country to identify and ensure that strict action is taken against partners who are engaged in selling pirated software," says Sood at Adobe.

Microsoft too, has been actively working with various channel associations across the country to drive awareness on the perils of piracy. "We are committed to protecting IP and fostering an environment where innovation is rewarded and the local software industry can flourish. In order to achieve this, we work together with the software industry to address the problem of piracy. Since piracy is an industry issue we are working with bodies like NASSCOM, BSA, and FICCI," says Khanna.

BSA has run several SAM seminars since 2008 with the State Governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh targeted at SMEs. "To ensure the effective management of software within the SME segment, BSA, in 2012, introduced an industry-supported portal called license management registry 360 (LMR60). It allows SMEs to maintain, manage, and monitor their software inventory for multiple publishers at a single location," says Thounaojam.

The Vendor--Channel Equation

Can software companies help channels resist the piracy route? According to Thounaojam, India's software industry needs to move up the value chain and enter the niche area of product development. But there are challenges in copyright and IP protection which deter software developers in investing in development of new products in India.

Adobe partners with major associations which act as industry watchdogs to identify and prosecute offenders, create legislation to protect software manufacturers, provide tools to identify unlicensed software, and offer useful information to help organizations stay compliant, says Sood.

While BSA has been playing a significant role in supporting rights holders in the region through its wide range of initiatives, there is a need for increased governmental involvement, end-user education and specific piracy law formulation believes Thounaojam. "Software publishers must work closely with channel partners to ensure that their staff is educated on the licensing terms and conditions of software products," says Thounaojam.

At the same time, vendors have to reduce the price of software and make it more affordable, believes Shete at CMDA.

But, Khanna says that the cheapest and most readily available software programs are pirated as much as the most expensive programs. "Prices also incorporate a component for intellectual property. "The only solution to the problem" he says, "lies in cultivating respect for intellectual property rights by educating all those involved."


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