Legal software in Ukraine: Problems of the making
Computer piracy in Ukraine is prosecuted
The orientation of the software market towards disposing of counterfeit products is inadmissible for the civilized state. The use of unlicensed software is a serious obstacle in the way of the development of the information technology market, hinders the international cooperation and favors the furtherance of the underground sector. The international financial and industrial structures lose opportunities to invest money in the sphere of information technologies and find a complex solution for problems of the competent use of objects of the intellectual property.
However the users of computer hardware have an opinion that it is better to obtain software in an illegal way, because in such a case it costs cheaper by far and in a quality does not differ from licensed products.
For example, legal Windows XP Profession costs 200$. It is supposed that we must purchase a product of high quality for such money. But in practice, after buying and installing the foregoing software there often arise some problems:
Many programs do not work (because Microsoft programmers committed an error)^;
· While switching on the computer the screen displays a message that there is something wrong with a loading sector^;
· It is impossible to exercise the right to the technical maintenance because the system has failed and all the data vanishing^;
· Finally the maintenance center will advise to remount ill-fated Windows rather than to restore the lost data.
Many people consider not without reason that malfunctions of the operating system mainly depend on the quality of the hardware, but in most cases they are all the same caused by the software. There appears quite an appropriate question: “Why did I waste 200$ on it if I could buy a more inexpensive piratical copy and blame myself in a case of losing data?” The purchase of the legal software does not always protect from negative consequences. Unfortunately, there is no other choice but to buy Microsoft products. The company practically became a monopolist at the market of operating systems. Though there is good old Unix or more and more popular Lunix, but many ordinary users have no practice in working with them and most software is made in imitation Windows. Lindows’ activity in opposing Microsoft, that monopolizes the market of operating systems, has been talked over by most news resources for a long time. When US Court refused an action, which Microsoft had brought against Lindows trying to forbid the use of the name consonant to Windows, the functionaries of Lindows did not fail to enter the new stage of the struggle for “a free soft”.
Michael Robertson, Lindows General Director, has announced recently a competition among the specialists in forcing protective programs. A person will get 200000$ if he manages to launch Linux operating system on X-box attachment without changing the hardware part of console.
Micrisoft worked hard on protecting its attachments, but special chips, which allow to launch piratical software, have been already distributed all over the world. Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturers, who are known to observe no law, mainly produce such devices. The law, thereby suppressing their attack at least on the territory of this country, officially prohibits the use of these chips in the USA.
If the possibility is found to start an “illegal” operating system without modifying the attachment itself, Microsoft will have new serious problems: everyone will be capable of downloading a free modification program through Internet. Taking into consideration that the attachment itself was sold from the very outset at lower cost price because of the price struggle with the competitors, the same can cause the significant drop in profits of the giant corporation.
Meanwhile, the realization of this plan is not a Utopian dream. It is not so difficult to create a so-called “loading disk” for X-box, not so long ago some clever hackers carried out the analogous procedure with Play Station attachment.
It is unknown how Microsoft will respond to the initiative of Mr. Robertson. But now it is already obvious that great trials are not far off.
The cases with game software are somewhat different. Many firms, which localize games, sell them at prices close to piratical ones but with more qualitative printing trades, and the percentage of the blank failures at high-speed drives is lower because the plastic of high quality is used during their manufacture. The maintenance is provided well (different “patches” are produced in proper time).
Some opinions on sanctions:
Sanctions against producing CDs have no right to the existence. It means that the states are prohibited to manufacture them and the infringement results in paying a fine.
Various companies possess licensed rights to programs recorded on CD ROMs and during the illegal use of programs (but not CDs) they do bear losses. It is necessary to have laws prohibiting the usage of unlicensed software for commercial purposes. However, the production of compact disks should not be outlawed.
By the way, many people prefer BASF CDs (Germany) to those made in the USA. If so, it is necessary to prohibit their production in Germany but nobody will have the courage to do it. But Ukraine can be set forth such conditions. Alas …
John Gilmore, the noted scientist in cryptography, leading specialist of Sun Microsystems Company, co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, published an open letter concerning trade sanctions imposed by the USA against Ukraine:
“The regime of licensing optical carriers, which the USA try to press on Ukraine (and other countries), provides for identification numbers on every CD-blank and CD-carrier. Thus, a compact-disk being on sale can be checked for a source. These identification codes can be seen in the center of CD ROMs. I have got a disk with IFPI 2f82 on one side and CMCA on the other. In addition, there are some numbers and bar codes. But it does not hinder the production of piratical copies. The same identification codes are also introduced into CD-recorders (since Philips possesses a patent for these technologies). While recording every CD-R blank obtains a unique number, which allows establishing a CD-recorder. The detailed information on such a technology can be found at: http://www.licensing.philips.com /information /sid/.
International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the international variant of RIAA, invented the given technology. The same companies direct these two organizations, which serve as a cover of the musical Mafia. Here are the addresses of their web-site and some comments concerning trade sanctions on Ukrainian products: http://www.ifpi.org/site-struct/ front page. Html, http://www.ifpi.org/site-content/press/ 20011220. html.
Philips web site also can display the PDF document drawn up by the IFPI representatives: “All the disks manufactured in China, Hong-Kong and Bulgaria must contain the given identification, SID-code program being voluntary in most countries of the world. The introduction of obligatory SID-codes is also considered by other countries which are going to enact some laws regulating CD production activities of the plants.” (IFPI and the USA are now putting pressure on these countries under the threat of trade sanctions). The equipment and blanks for the production of compact disks are a musical equivalent of printing presses and paper sheets for written works.
Here is a list of demands, which IFPI made for Ukraine “to put an end to the piracy” and the USA have imposed on the Ukrainians for a long time: to close and prosecute the printing-houses with edition of many copies^; to withdraw and destroy all the private property connected with the infringement of copyrights^; to perform regular inspections of the printing-houses without notice^; to bring sales of printers and white paper under control^; to introduce a severe control over the traffics of paper including the obligatory use of water-marks in the printing-presses^; to enter the new legislation for the Western sound recording companies and the corresponding articles of the Criminal Code for the violation of copyrights and contiguous rights.
The majority of the afore-cited demands is a direct press censorship which was prohibited by our own Constitution. Therefore I will try to guess what the last demand means: if Ukraine does not adopt the law, the DMCA analogue, the sanctions will be imposed on it all the same. Luckily, the Communist government was wise enough to bar from enacting the law, while the authoritarian government of the USA have been attempting to thrust this law on the USSR (and now Ukraine) for a long time.
Here is some more information, which will help to catch my idea. Dear reader, you may know, that every color copier and color laser printer puts a serial number of the equipment on a sheet. The skillfully disguised inscription arises from the agreement with the US State Treasury. I did not manage to find out whether the black-and-white devices are capable of functioning like this. The next stage is the introduction of autoresponders, which register a telephone number of a calling person^; video-cameras, which fix the readers’ faces, time of their visit and list of books taken by them in the library^; the Internet advertisement that follows a person who watched it^; cell phones, which inform the authorities about every our step^; road cabins fixing the number of every car that passes by^; policemen in every airport who demand identification cards for traveling about the country. In general, we will live in the police state. The USA has just brought 100% tariffs on the Ukrainian products because the lawmakers had vo ted against the creation of the US police state in Ukraine. Loud cheers to them! May be, they can borrow us some fighters for freedom who know how to get rid of the centralized oligarchic control over the markets, as well as authoritarian one over the press and citizens. Such people would come in handy to us.
Here is an opinion of some Ukrainian officials:
“It seems that the USA wanted to scare Ukraine because of the losses inflicted by the piracy instead of introducing trade sanctions against those states, which support the terrorism. Is Ukraine the largest manufacturer of piratical products in the world?”
“The most striking are stands of the functionaries claiming that bills are defeated by those persons who do not care about their own state. They say we should take the road of civilization and so on. I admit that it is bad to steal smb. else’s intellectual property. However, everybody forgets for some reason about what allowed Ukraine to get out of the information technology pit and enter into rivalry with other countries in the field of software development. To my mind, our programmers are not worse than American ones and are likely to excel them in something else. But what allow Ukraine to keep up with the world association are copies of Microsoft Windows, MS Office, Corel and Adobe. It was Microsoft Company that started using the Ukrainian language in its Windows and Office due to the wide popularity among the average Ukrainian users.”
The main reasons of the computer piracy are the imperfection of the normative-legal base^; unfavorable conditions of the development of the information technology market^; the society lacks for the negative attitude towards the illegal use of software^; most people cannot purchase the legal software because of its high price.
The development of the information technologies in the country will be facilitated by the complex of measures taken for using only licensed software in all spheres of the activity for improving the legislation of the copyrights and contiguous rights to the use of software with regard for its specific character.
On May 15, 2002 Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers accepted the Concept of the software legalization and struggle against piratical products. It determines the main principles of the state policy in this direction. The software legalization aims at introducing an effective system of its legal protection as a copyright object. The Concept provides for taking steps connected with the improvement and development of the software market. It is not a secret that the foreign boss mainly employs the home programmers. The development of own software industry must become one of the more important preconditions for the civilized work of the information technology market in the country. The emergence of the home-produced software would favor not only the reduction of its price but also resolve a problem of the dependence on foreign manufactures.
For the time being the International Intellectual Property Protection Union insists on introducing the further sanctions against Ukraine in connection with the unsound condition of affaires in the field of the intellectual property protection. The Alliance accounts for its recommendations by the fact that the piracy problem in Ukraine remains very serious even after the adoption of the Joint Measure Plan signed by the former president of the USA Bill Clinton and the president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma three years ago. Ukraine’s copyright laws and the mechanism of taking legal actions for the infringement do not conform with the established norms of the World Trade Organization to the full extent. Ukraine must not be permitted to enter the WTO.