Information technology, in my opinion, is indeed essential in this digital age. Having come from a low-income background, I can understand the predicament of those in the developing world. Information technology has indeed been a great social leveler between me and my more well-off peers, simply because I would definitely be very much disadvantaged in terms of opportunities, had I not been given access to software so vital in our world today.Back to top
The proliferation of illegal software
Intellectual property can clearly be classified under two main categories for the purpose of this discussion; those essential for development and those not. Entertainment media, such as movies, music and games, would fall into the second category, while software for the purpose of increasing productivity, such as Microsoft Office, would fall under the first.
In my opinion, to acquire games and music for the purpose of pleasure through illegal means would definitely be unethical, while it is arguably justifiable if one engaged in copyright infringement for the purpose of acquiring software to enhance his productivity or knowledge.
I have myself experienced the transformation that access to essential software, such as Microsoft Office, can bring to those financially less well-off. Before computers and such software was made available to me in school, I was certainly disadvantaged compared to my peers, who had access to the internet and its wealth of knowledge, and word processors which made doing work so much easier. This, I believe, is a situation repeated all throughout the developing world. Should consumers there be given such opportunities as I have, their lives would certainly be transformed.
Unfortunately, it remains a fact that software which could improve the lives of many remain out of their reach, especially in the financial sense.Back to top
Lowering prices accordingly
A common strategy employed against copyright infringement is to put pressure on the government to enforce copyright law. While it has met with some success, it no doubt diverts resources away from other causes, such as education and health care, which could instead increase the wellbeing of the people. It is also not a viable long-term strategy; more ways will eventually be found to circumvent law enforcement efforts.
Price will always be a determining factor of the demand for original and illegal copyrighted products. In my opinion, lowering software companies should price their products accordingly when making their foray into the markets of developing countries. This would have the double benefit of both increasing sales of their own products, and at the same time, give those less financially well off a chance to enjoy the benefits of utilizing such software.