Does software piracy have a solution?


By Guilherme Abrantes - Lawyer specialized in intellectual property at Daniel Advogados. Gazeta Mercantil / Caderno A - Page 3

August 2, 2005 - The piracy tsunami is overwhelming when it leaves companies. Much has been reported about the decrease in software piracy in Brazil. Is it really decreasing? Perhaps. But not in the intensity with which it has been reported. It appears that the piracy of computer programs in the country gravitates to around 55% of the market. In fact, in the not-too-distant past, this index exceeded 70%, and a reduction of about 15% cannot be underestimated.

However, a distinction must be made when analyzing these figures. Back in 1997, when the anti-piracy software campaign started in Brazil, the focus was on curbing the illegal use of computer programs within companies. Conducted with a certain competence, the campaign brought good results. But for some time now, the central problem of piracy is no longer within companies.

For better or worse, companies are in a position to run their businesses with a reasonable licensing policy for the programs they use. After all, nobody wants to be subject to the stratospheric fine established by law. But the piracy tsunami is overwhelming when it comes out of companies.

Imagine an ordinary worker who earns R $ 1 a month. With great effort he manages to buy his computer in homeopathic installments. “It is really worth the investment. I am no longer a digital excluded! ”, The worker rejoices. Behold, the son is coming: “Dad, buy KickMegaJumpStrike for me? I played at Joãozinho's and it is great! ”.

The next day, the father goes to work and, on the way, he comes across a computer store with the game in the window: R $ 100,00. After the shock, he goes on to work a bit desolate, until he stumbles into a fair box on the sidewalk: “Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Doom, GTA, Fifa Soccer and… KickMegaJumpStrike! 1 is 10, 2 is 15! ”

Suspicious, he asks about the origin of those games and the seller confirms that they are faithful copies of the original games. The worker doesn't think twice: he pulls a “macaw” out of his pocket and leaves with the game that will make his son happy. And it really does. But, as the popular jargon says, poor people's happiness lasts for a short time: during dinner, the little boy turns around and shoots: “Dad, I have to do a job and our computer doesn't have a word processor”.

Next morning, same scene. When the father saw the price of the text editor, he almost had a fit. There is "homeopathy" to "cure" another R $ 1. Then he remembers the magic words: “1 is 10, 2 is 15!”. A few seconds later, another “macaw” flew out of our worker's pocket.

Now, how can an individual who earns, say, R $ 1 a month pay these prices? Either the worker eats or buys the program. For obvious reasons, he eats. Point for the owner of the crate and bad luck of the software companies.

By the way, the crate detail is a little outdated. Most up-to-date “sellers” hide CDs in other stores or even in culverts, depending on the urgency. But most street vendors are adopting another practice: CDs only exist at home and they perform the service at night. During the day they only collect orders. They optimize the business and also reduce the chances of being caught by the police.

In the center of Rio de Janeiro there is a building called Avenida Central, located in the middle of Avenida Rio Branco. It would be a common commercial building were it not for housing what is known as Info Centro, a computer products mall. The disposition of street vendors on the sidewalk is such that the entrance to the building becomes a war, as passers-by have to circumvent street vendors while protecting their ears from shouting and the pockets of possible crashes. As funny as the story above may seem, the Avenida Central building is there, every day, with street vendors, passers-by and trumpets, for those who want to see it.

There is no point in punching a knife point. In a country like Brazil, the population will not buy a computer program for R $ 1. Bite your elbows. People prefer to run the risk of being arrested than to spend a fortune on a computer program.

Anyway, it looks like software companies are finally getting the message. Microsoft recently launched simpler versions of Windows and Office on the market for less expensive prices. Point for Bill Gates' team. It is true that R $ 300 or R $ 400 for a computer program is still more than the majority of the population can support, but it is already an indication that, at some point, we may reach a common denominator. Meanwhile… 1 is 10, 2 is 15.