You must have heard of the 30 days amnesty period by Kenya Copyright Board with the support of Microsoft, during which software retailers and resellers can “come clean” and start using or selling genuine products. Ok, it is time for people to repent and their sins will be forgiven. So if you are reading this post and you are using a computer with pirated software from whatever place you got it…stop there and own up. Check if you have the genuine software at buygenuine.co.ke
Since the time this amnesty was announced, I have thought about the whole issue of software pirating, I have debated it in my head and tried to write a number posts about it. Unfortunately all those posts are unfinished, call them unpublished drafts. Now the time has come for me to start publishing them in the next coming days. The main reason has been the nagging fact in my head that the main culprits when comes to software piracy are so called “techies”. Look at it closely, who exactly is responsible for the high rate of software piracy in Kenya. Is it the end users or is it the retailers and resellers or is the software developers themselves like Microsoft?
The normal non techie users of the software normally head to the shop to buy or ask the advice from the little techie friend or office mate where to get the software. It is safe to assume that the techies play a big role here whether through the advise or working at the retailers of the software. In the end many computer users in Kenya acquire software through illegal means — such as buying a single license for a software and then installing it on multiple machines, or downloading programs from peer-to-peer networks —yeah torrenting. Take for example Windows XP or Windows 7 or Office 2007, you can get them easily from the PirateBay but how safe are they? Among others pirated software can lead to an introduction of a computer virus on your computer , loss of personal data and even cause the user’s computer to crash. ..Oh dear.
As software developer, I personally understand the huge amount of work it takes to develop a software. With that amount of work it is only fair if you can get financial reward for your hard work. According to Business Software Alliance (BSA), 41 % of all software in use is pirated.
Back to these torrenting business, i know many are guilty here..movies, music, books . Some people argue that most pirated software like Photoshop are damn expensive for the average consumer . And so the only option remaining for them is to pirate. Ok if that is the case, how come people do the same for the things like Music , movies and books which are reasonably cheaper when bought online!
At least we have seen people sympathizing with the musicians and Kenyan artists when their work are pirated but not with software/web developers. In my line of work, i have met many people who do not understand why software developer or web designer should be well paid for their work. SMH. Somebody should explain to such people that it cost a huge a mount of money to train and become a computer programmer or designer and developing a software is not a joke.
Then there is the issue of the Economy..I read somewhere the report of IDC , according to that report if Kenya’s current 79 percent software piracy rate was reduced by 10 percentage points over four years, it would create an additional 977 local IT jobs and contribute US$73.60 million to Kenya’s GDP. According to IDC, that represents an increase in total revenue for the local IT industry of US$40.01 million and additional revenue for the government of US$7.18 million in taxation.