Software developers get tough on pirates

Software developers are teaming up in the Czech Republic to clamp down on the piracy of their products. Recent statistics show that nearly 40% of all programs on Czech computers are not the official, authorized versions. Now, those who sell unauthorized versions of programs such as Word and Photoshop can expect to be shown ‘less leniency’ by the software’s creators. Microsoft is one of the firms leading the anti-piracy drive. I asked Markéta Mead from the company’s licensing department how big a problem software piracy currently is in this country:

“The Czech Republic currently has a piracy rate of around 39%, according to a study developed by the IDC agency conducted in the last year. This puts us in the top 20 countries in the world in terms of how low our rate of piracy is. We are currently best in Central and Eastern Europe in this regard.”

In that case why clamp down further on software piracy in this country when the current system already seems to be working?

“Well, although the trend seems to be decreasing over the past few years, it is actually harder and harder to keep such an average rate of piracy in the long term. Also, the trends are changing and so we have to keep up with the pirates.”

It has recently been reported that software producers are teaming up in this country in a bid to clamp down further on software piracy. What can you actually do to put a stop to such piracy?

“In practice, software vendors are now less willing to settle out of court with those convicted. It doesn’t mean that these firms will no longer settle in such a way, but it is more of an attempt to raise awareness that not every business will be able to pay damages out of court. We want to show that settling out of court is not a silver bullet or a get-out clause for pirates.”

Is Microsoft a big victim of software piracy in the Czech Republic?

“The rate of piracy of our products is similar to the Czech average. As for individual products, Windows and Microsoft Office are the most pirated products that we have. I think Microsoft Office is probably the biggest victim of piracy for us in the Czech Republic. In terms of the other products, our gaming software is certainly very frequently pirated in the Czech Republic too.”