I know that this is an old debate but I’d like to resurrect the issue on software piracy and how it allegedly help alleviate computer literacy in the Philippines.
What would have happened if the 90% pirated softwares in the country were supressed from the very beginning?
I remember back in college when Windows 95 first came out and students of the entire dormitory I lived in only had 1 single licensed copy of it (AFAIK). That’s around 30 personal computers of a population of 150. What if the rest of the 29 PC owners didn’t “borrow” their Windows CD and remained using DOS? Will they be forced to buy their own license or go FOSS? I guess if they can afford to buy a PC, they can afford to buy software licenses as well.
Likewise, the internet cafe industry thrived mostly on pirated softwares allowing them to offer their rentals at very cheap rates, averaging Php20 to Php25 per hour (I’ve seen one net cafe in Makati offering as low as Php8/hour). Had they factored in cost of software acquisition, their rentals might have doubled their usual rates now. Not bad considering rentals back then started around that range.
So, it looks like most Filipinos just want to get dirt cheap alternative.
How about web designers not being able to use Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver because of the steep costs? Would we end up with less web designers, artists and developers? What about Visual Basic/Studio, FoxPro – will there less developers and programmers then? Will that translate to lower literacy and more unemployment?
Will those web design and development houses like Asia Online survived the dotcom era if there were no enterprising freelancers (mostly using pirated software) bringing down the cost of development?
We can only speculate. But at the end of the day, like the piracy in the music industry — will people really buy music albums even if they are unable to freely download it elsewhere?
What do you think?