Use of pirated software is rampant in India

An online survey revealed the extent to which pirated software and about 49 % of population using computer are using pirated software in some or other form.
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.

Buying a CD of pirated software or getting it downloaded in a pen drive from a roadside vendor is a common feature among people using computer in India. An online survey revealed the extent to which pirated software is used in the country. It says that about 49 % of population using computer are using pirated software in some or other form.

People have also complained that high price of the original software is main reason behind this as they said that they can use the original version if prices are slashed.

According to an estimate, the unauthorized copying, distribution or the use of software without obtaining a proper licence from the software company, also termed as software piracy, costs the industry almost $3 billion every year in India, second to only China.

Many consumers on the online community platform Local Circles mentioned the use of pirated software in offices and homes and cited easy availability and cheap prices as the main catalyst which prompts their use.

Taking the discussions to the next level, citizen engagement platform LocalCircles conducted a poll and asked consumers what percentage of software (windows, MS Office, Photoshop etc.) installed on their computer was original or pirated. Not surprisingly, 49% respondents said that they have some pirated software on their computer. On the other side, 51% said that they were using all authentic software on their computer. A total of 10,343 people voted on this poll.

In the second poll, people were asked what would make them shift from using pirated software to original software in case of software like Windows and Microsoft Office. Of the 9,177 votes received, 56% said that they would switch if the pricing is changed from annual subscription to a one time purchase. 31% said they would shift if the price is dropped to Rs. 1000 or lower per year. Only 3% said they will not shift irrespective of the price and 10% did not want to share their opinion.

Sachin Tapadia, CEO, Local Circles said, “Looking at the poll results, it looks like there could be two effective ways of reducing software piracy in India. The first one could be a reduction in prices of the software. As the prices go down, more buyers will emerge and start purchasing these software instead of buying the pirated ones.”

Tapadia said that the second could be moving from a subscription to a one time sales model. “Many consumers feel that a subscription model has a lot of hassles as it needs to be renewed every year and costs a lot of money,” he added.

India lacks a strict piracy law. The minimum jail term for software copyright infringement in India is seven days, and the maximum jail term is three years. Statutory fines range from a minimum of 50,000 to a maximum of 200,000 rupees. This encourages piracy and as a result, small ‘pirated software markets’ have mushroomed in almost every city in the country.

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The New Indian Express