||Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution|
It is a pity that I never came across this incisive article which opened my eyes about the real meaning of "piracy", something which is hotly debated in India. Even though this article has been written in 2002--I wonder whether there was any update or any other related work--it is pretty relevant to date especially in countries like India where the laws ony now been enacted to check "piracy" and ensure digital rights protection and protection of copyrights for books. India has all the three types of piracy rampant, software, books and music and legislation and enforcement is the route the authorities are takinig to curb this without much success. People like O'Reilly who are thought leaders on Internet and also in publishing seem to know better as to what approach one should take while one considers what constitutes piracy and how this can be checked. In a market where even big brands put out their PCs without bundled software to offer "cheap PCs" you will compell the users to become "pirates" when they figure out that software would cost half the price of PC or even mroe. Likewise CDs are sold for equivalent of $ 10 or more--the average weekly take of young worker--he wont bate an eyelid to "borrow" music. Books are outof question as even paper backs cost upwards of US$10 while they are available on the street for as little as US$2! Besides pirates of music,films,software and books seem to be hitting the markets faster than the original which is another incentive.
The way out for authorities and pressure groups is to sit with software makers to design software suited to markets such as India at a price which is affordable, bring down CD prices, printed book prices, facilitate portals that sell legitimate copies at much lesser price than now. Legislation and its enforcement is far more expensive than education and cr creating wareness