Pirate This Blog

Posted by sepoy on July 06, 2004 · 3 mins read

Every Pakistani's heart swells with pride when we learn that Pakistan is #1 in anything. Imagine my elation when I learned that Pakistan now claims tops in the world in piracy. The International Intellectual Property Alliance released a report a few days ago which argues that Pakistan's status as preferred trading partner of US be re-evaluated until they re-evaluate their effort to fight piracy because:

Trade losses due to piracy for 2003 were estimated at $134 million with Pakistan receiving $91.9 million in GSP benefits. Pakistan has become one of the worldís leading producers and exporters of pirated optical discs (CDs, DVDs, VCDs, CD-ROMs) of copyrighted sound recordings, motion pictures, business and entertainment software and published materials. Eight known facilities in Pakistan produced upwards of 180 million discs in 2003, nearly all illegal; most are being exported around the world to at least 46 other countries. The Pakistan government took some cosmetic steps early in 2004 to address the escalating problem (establishing an inter-ministerial group and inspecting and temporarily shutting down several of the optical disc plants), but currently all the plants are back in operation. The Pakistani government has failed to deal fundamentally with piracy, and we call upon the Government of Pakistan to quickly address these issues. Book piracy also remains a serious problem in Pakistan, and other types of piracy (e.g., end-user piracy of business software) must be addressed by the government.

Anyone who has been to Hall Road or Hafeez Centre in Lahore knows the bounty of software, movies, PS2 and computer games that is available for $1.60 each. They are cheaper in Karachi. Leave aside that the greatest number of pirated DVDs and VCDs are the Bollywood movies not Hollywood. I saw suitcase full of DVDs carried out of Lahore International. I don't know whose suitcase it was, or I would have notified authorities.

Don't shrug that this piracy nonsense is so much boo-hoo by the First World. Interpol reported last month that piracy money funded terrorist organizations such as Hizbollah and Lashkar-i Tayiba. Ouch.

As KO wrote in an excellent post on software piracy, one glaring cause of piracy in Pakistan is the lack of any legal venues of sales and acquistion of software, movies or games. Compound to that the fact that if the price of a dvd in US is $20, no one will ever pay Rs. 1100 for White Chicks. But, all is not lost.

First, we need legal salepoints for DVDs, games and software. Second, they need to be competitively priced. Dare I suggest a capitalist enterprise subsidize their product? Yes, I do. Apple's iTunes has conclusively proved the feasability of legal downloads of music for an attractive price. But how to produce a legal DVD that can sell in Pakistan? Move the production facilities for the region into the region. Have locally produced copies available in the market for a slight premium. I'd wager that a consumer in Pakistan will fork over Rs. 400-500 for an attractively packaged, blemish free product. In essence, we need legitimate venues both for capitalist enterprise and for building good little consumers.


Nitin | July 06, 2004

Piracy seems to be natural response of the market when there is a difference between its stated price and its percieved value. Insane pricing policies make criminals out of millions of otherwise normally law abiding citizens. Malaysia tried a very interesting policy: placing price ceilings on CD prices and simultaneously pursuing pirates. Controversial, but I think a practical approach. Once any kind of industry is driven underground due to silly pricing policies or laws, it breeds all kinds of associated ills; including organised crime and terrorist funding.

MayHa | July 06, 2004

money for everything- this world is an evil place. i think musicians, artist etc should be paid from a large universal fund...no royalties no disgusting amounts of cash but a nice fat salary for them all...communism modified. i mean they have the talent and deserve reward..but everyone has a right to entertainment. free music rocks...would i pay for it- yes. CAn i pay for it- no. on a personal level i'd have to say that i support the industry as one of our own.

s¯nee | July 07, 2004

I always thought, CHina or HongK/Malaysia/Singapore were at the top, as we normally get all those latest installers compiled in one of these countries.Personally i'm in favor of these pirated softwares (only softwares),as its the only way to break the monopoly of microsoft and many other countries who dont realize that millions in developing countries simply cant afford them ; but they need them too!! BADLY!! e.g Any WinOS's here in denmark would cost almost 75% of your Room rent!!(hostel)this is insane!! [later on i joined the OSSEP: (organized-student-software-exchange-program)] so just think about what if someone inpakistan would have to pay like 10,000Rs to get a licensed OS copy!! how many can actually save that amount of money?..Moving the production facility into the region is not a solution; especially in our case: they have tried it before and there was no major effect onthe price list due to ten thousand types of taxes!! Similar is the case when it comes to scientific softwares, some universities don't have that much budget to get all those licensed softwares and renew them every year,and in result millions of students are deprived of this oppurtunity:just see the engineering universities: how many students actually know the use of AUTOCAD or other CAD programs??? similar is the case in all the other sciences...I use Matlab for all my numerical solutions and its 'limited' student version (server based) would cost 1500-USD!!! thats almost 87000Rs!!! but thanks to hafeez center, i got a fully 'cracked & complete' version for 40Rs and its on the toplist of OSSEP (so are many WinOS+office2003+CAD programs)...Now im waiting for Shakir to come back with a Fresh 2004-LOT of installers+some new science packages!! And yes i am soon launching my OWN-NON-HISTORICAL-SPORTS & SCIENCE-BASED blog titled : www.chicagomistry.com ...

KO | July 12, 2004

Crackdown on piracy is actually good, as that should/might encourage the use of opensource software. Dare I suggest a capitalist enterprise subsidize their product? Selling at a lower price doesn't mean a subsidy - it just means they're selling it at a lower price. No one's asking these companies to sell at a loss - considering the distrubution/retail costs in the US, they could sell here at a much lower price and still make hefty profits.

sepoy | July 12, 2004

KO: Yes, even though I did not mention it. My hope is that such a crackdown will encourage OSS. We need to take a cue from Japan/China/S.Korea's recent collaboration to compile their own OS Desktop Operating System. Dare I say, a Indo-Pak OS?

REHMAN | November 27, 2005

Sorry ! You are asking about piracy in Pakistan.Unfortunately Microsoft and other software developers are least interested in selling their legal products in Pakistan. It's amazing ,no locations is available here for the legal softs. Prices of softwares are in hundrards of dollars which may force a user to use a pirated one in the Globe and specially in 3rd world nations ,where per capita income is very low. In pakistan a machine ( P-IV > 3GHZ with Intel OEM borads and best accessories) is for 500$ and a used one is for 100$ or less .One may like to buy the licenced softwares not more than 10$ each or a plateform for somewhat high price. don't abuse the terrorists for a 0.5 $ Software cause the initial cost for a disk is almost 0.2$ to 0.3$ .It may be an easy source of icome for shopkeeper and not the terrorist.Some neighbouring countries make efforts and supply funds to these peoples to develop unrest in Pakistan. Major factor for pirated softwares is the high prices of softwares. Softwares Manufacturers should demand reasonable prices in Pakistan and may give the opportunities of installments in 3rd world countries specially Pakistan.

Anjum | December 12, 2005

ohh this is an other attack to the Pakistan from the west n us on the develping country Pakistan. I am 100% aware n disappointed to learn that there is no ture world no. pricy country is china and india all world knows to calaims Pakistan i think they are worried about the computer industry of Pakistan n software develper of Pakistan. pircy is in all over the world as u know how can stop it i think plz plz let the software sell in Pak Rupee. Rs. like if the windowsxp is 100$ in Pakistan it should bi 100Rs. that is best for every one n i told the 100% sure that if microsoft do this step on south asia u amagine the tecnology will be 200% faster grouth in the world i am a mac user i always use us hubs to download software now plz tell me how is top in the world of pircy thankz.

Varimathras | February 05, 2006

I think that anyone will agree that a bootable WinXP disc for less than a buck (Canadian) is pretty dope. Piracy is everywhere, the only difference is that Pakistan is on Easy Mode when it comes to piracy in that they don't need a phat pipe (broadband internet); they simply need to make a trip to the local software shop to acquire many times the product attainale through the 'net in a fraction of the price and time.

Asad | December 25, 2006

My take on piracy in Pakistan: [url=http://www.asadasif.com/?itemid=68]Windows XP activation woes and piracy in Pakistan[/url]