JUST LIKE WINDOWS AND OFFICE WERE FREE
Test Center | 22 June 2010
JUST LIKE WINDOWS AND OFFICE WERE "FREE", THE ATTITUDE IS SPREADING THAT PIRATED MUSIC AND VIDEOS ARE TOO.
Of all the letters that CHIP receives each month, the one recurring theme that pops up most often is that of piracy. A huge number of letter writers express their discontentment with the way piracy is largely unchecked in India, and write in asking for advice on how to buy legal software. Some companies make it relatively easy, by creating eye-catching spaces at bookstores and even some home appliance and technology product retail chains in the large and medium-sized cities. Very few are able to set up a presence in small towns, and there’s really no way to cover each and every one in this country! Besides, our vocal readers must represent a tiny fraction of the population. The overwhelming majority must still be perfectly happy with buying CDs and DVDs off the roadside.
In this issue, while technology that enables mobile entertainment, it became obvious that the hardware was only one part of the equation. With MP3 players, video players, ebook readers, multifunction Web tablets, and of course cellphones that combine most of these functions, where is all the content coming from? Where are people getting all the songs and video clips they’re playing? For a very large number of people, the answer is still piracy.
With the increasing availability at low price points of hardware that plays back digital files, piracy is now growing, reaching vast masses of people who might not even have regular access to the Internet to download tracks or a computer to transfer them onto a phone or memory card. CHIP has in the past noted small-time vendors who offer to fill up your phone with the latest popular Bollywood tracks for as little as Rs 150. It doesn’t cost much to refresh your collection every month or so. The service might even be thrown in when one buys a new phone from them (presumably one of the cheap, loud Chinese varieties). Just like many used to assume that Windows, Office and whatever else we could name were free and on demand from our local assemblers, the attitude is spreading that pirated music and videos are free when supplied by local phone dealers.
Luckily for people who have a moral objection to piracy, we found that legal avenues are now opening up in India. In addition, a lot more quality stuff is available for free than there has been in the past. It is possible to satisfy the itch to download with entirely legal fare.
Tech will bring new possibilities for entertainment to more and more people, growing the market for content. The devices will be sold everywhere; content sellers now have to provide more and better legal ways to fill them up.