The title of a brief column on the second page of Dawn’s Metropolitan section today caught my attention by surprise. It read “Deadline for installing illegal software”. That is certainly not what you get to read everyday in Dawn.
According to the column, the Business Software Alliance (which I’ve long known as a group trying hopelessly yet persistently to crack down on software piracy in the subcontinent) granted a 35-day grace period to companies in PK using pirated or illegal software to acquire licensed versions of the software being used. Not only that, the BSA also stated that all past copyright infringement acts will be forgotten if companies opt to purchase licensed software within the grace period and get rid of illegal/pirate software. Today’s column highlights BSA reminding the companies that the grace period ends 30 May and that they will continue the crackdown on piracy from the first of June.
I’ve kept a tab, on and off, on BSA ever since their coming into the picture, but I have to admit I was totally oblivious of this grace period. Despite that, I think the decision to roll out the 35-day grace period with the incentive that all previous copyright infringement cases will be overlooked for individual companies in question if they get rid of the pirated software and quickly buy and start using licensed software is a wonderful way to get companies which are making dough by using illegal software in their business to buy and use licensed software. As with any initiative in PK, it remains to be seen how many companies actually have paid heed to this and moved out over to licensed software, and how many have shrugged it away.
The ground realties leave no doubt in what the reaction of major companies in PK would be to BSA’s 35-day grace period initiative. I would love to see how this turns out still.