90% of Belarusian citizens are software pirates!


Criminal cases against distributors of “pirate” software have already been started in the country. You can buy Windows for 5 USD from them while official distributors are asking 40 times more. After his last visit to Minsk the director general of the representative office of Microsoft in Ukraine and other CIS countries Valeriy Lanavenko claimed that 80% of software used in Belarus was illegal.  The director general of the portal TUT.BY Kiryl Valoshyn thinks it’s at least 90%.

10% of licensed software users in our country are employees of state companies and institutions. For example, the administration of “The High-Tech Park”. The deputy head of the administration of “The High-Tech Park” Alyaksandr Martsinkevich comments on it:

Alyaksandr Martsіnkevіch: “We buy computers where the producer has already installed all the necessary licensed software. For example, I am working on a note-book “Toshiba” where the whole system is built-in”.

It is also known that the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus uses licensed software. Pirate copies are not used in BSU. Natallya Novikava, the head of the software department of the Information Technologies Centre of BSU says:

Natallya Novіkava: “We are an educational institution so we have discounts available for all educational, medical and state institutions. Sometimes the discounts reach 80%”.

One of the “fathers” of RUNET Anton Nosik explains why state organizations are so interested in licensed software:

Anton Nosіk: “The state does not pay for it with its own money. The state has no reason to save money. “Piracy” appears when people have reasons to count money”.

In fact, licensed software costs a lot. A licensed copy of Windows Vista Business in a beautiful box will cost from 380 to 458 thousand BRB. Official distributors get the money, but not very often.

The latest – eighth – version of the programme for text recognition Fine Reader is a bit cheaper than Windows – about 300 thousand BRB. A new version of the graphic tool Adobe Photoshop CS3 costs about 1000 USD in Belarus.

Seeing such prices Belarusian users turn to “pirates”. You can buy any software for a fixed price of about 5 USD from them. Anton Nosik sees the following way out:

Anton Nosіk: “People’s income should increase – that’s the best way out”.

Neither software producers nor the state like “piracy”. But Alyaksandr Martsinkevich thinks that neither producers nor the state can do anything about it:

Alyaksandr Martsіnkevіch: “The Belarusian copyright law is one of the best in the CIS. But the way it is applied has not been worked out. Everything that is being done is spontaneous”.

Yuryi Shapelkіn, the director of the “Misoft” company. The only official distributor of “1C” in Belarus thinks that for every 20 thousand licensed copies of their programme there can be found another 20 thousand of illegal copies. He says at least several criminal cases have already been started in connection with software “piracy” in our country:

Yuryi Shapelkіn: “Criminal cases for installation of illegal copies of software and distribution of discs containing illegal copies have been started in Belarus. It happened in Homel, Maladzechna, Zhodzina and Minsk. Criminal cases can also be started against computer clubs using illegal software on their PC’s”.

ERB asked Yuryi Zisser, director general of the company “Reliable Software” about the differences between licensed and illegal software:

Yuryi Zіsser: “Pirate copies do not have any documentation for the software, no keys, no guarantee. Such copies cannot be updated in most cases. Sometimes users lose valuable information because of them”.