Expressing hope the software piracy rate in India will come down in coming years, a top Microsoft official has said a strong intellectual property rights regime will be critical and beneficial to growth of the country's economy.
"Developing a strong IP regime is critical (for India's growth). It is fundamental to the Indian government and economic growth. IP protection ends up being good for the country's own economic development, for tax revenues, for driving a culture of innovation, of invention and of creativity...," Microsoft Associate General Counsel (Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting) David Finn told PTI.
Estimates show that software piracy rate in India is around 65%. Globally, counterfeiting and piracy activities cause billions of dollars worth of economic losses and affect millions of jobs.
"I am very optimistic and am encouraged by what I have seen in India... The piracy rate will reduce and I am optimistic that the piracy rate will continue to come down in India, both because of some of the positive signs I have seen and also because ultimately strong IPR protection helps the Indian government and the Indian economy," he said.
Describing the menace of software piracy as a "challenging and complex problem", Finn noted that there are many kinds of piracy in India, including hard disc loading and underlicensing.
To fight piracy, Microsoft India conducts various programmes to create awareness among consumers and resellers about the risks associated with pirated software. The company also offers software asset management audits to ensure that are no instances of piracy in corporates.
"We have seen a lot of progress in terms of awareness in India of the risks of using counterfeits and not genuine software. We have seen more receptivity by the courts to protecting IP," he said.
A survey conducted by Microsoft late last year showed that the majority of Indians are ready to shell out more money for genuine software and also believe that original software is more secure, stable and easier to keep-up-to-date.
Going by a report released at the ongoing Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting & Piracy, the revenue that will be lost by companies on account of piracy of digital products is expected to amount to $80 to 240 billion by 2015.