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Georgia’s “pirates” rob Microsoft2010-10-18 19:09
The Caucasian republic cuts a poor figure again: Microsoft representative office in Tbilisi claims losing USD 150 mln annually in Sakartvelo. Curiously enough, these are not private businesses widely using unlicensed software. It turns out that state officials don't mind bootleg versions either. In these conditions the law on intellectual property protection is pointless: how can the government monitor execution of the law it violates?
Georgian citizens refuse to assist the multi-national PC technologies giant in making profit: annually GEL 50-60 mln slip past the tax service. Moreover, Georgia is ranked first in the list of 110 countries stealing licensed software, as the research by Business Software Alliance, the association of SW manufacturers, shows. Other countries keeping company with Georgia's PC users are Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan - apparently, with great pleasure.
Though it is wrong to blame citizens for intentional law-breaking. Most probably, most people in the country that is only starting the hi-tech 21st century are simply unaware what SW is installed on their PCs - licensed or not. The companies selling hardware offer piracy products, otherwise the sales margin will be too low. For instance, a licensed sound recording program costs GEL 500, and its price on the black market is GEL 7. With this colossal difference any sense in distributing licensed programs is lost.
"This problem does exist in Georgia. There is an intellectual property protection law. But the question is whether it is valid. On the whole the efficiency of this institution is not very high. If the officialdom makes use of bootleg SW - this is a scandal. It's clear any protection of intellectual property is out of question here. It's an ordinary story for Microsoft. Certainly genuine SW is expensive. The price is a determinant. If the problem exists, companies must solve these issues with related bodies in Georgia", - Georgi Khukhashvili, an expert on economic issues explained in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
He also suggests that Microsoft abandon its monopoly that contradicts market economy principles since "the company faces such problems not only in Georgia - in old Europe too". Probably, Georgians should ask the corporation's representative office in Tbilisi for price cut.