2024-05-20 11:27:30
Making a break with the tradition of piracy – in Poland news

Warsaw Business Journal Online

The era of Warsaw’s infamous stadium (Stadion Dziesięciolecia) is coming to an end this year and the ubiquitous sellers of pirated media will no longer need to lamely unfurl plastic tarps over their goods every time the police circle past.

Which, if any, location will be next to host their ilk is unknown as
yet, but Polish piracy – as a common practice – is going nowhere.


In Poland the tradition of intellectual-property infringement
stretches back to the heady days of the VCR, when video cassettes
containing episodes of Dallas and Dynasty, recorded over to a point
that skewed sound and picture quality, were swapped under the noses of
the communist authorities. In many communities, extended family and
friends would gather to watch the illicit Western programs in what was,
in its own way, an act of defiance.


Apologists for digital theft might suggest that the Polish
anti-authoritarian streak is a contributing factor. A more globally
applicable (and defensible) argument points to the economic disparity
between more developed, media-rich markets and their poorer brethren,
in which piracy runs rampant.


There is merit in the second argument. Moreover, there is an
arrogance implicit in Western nations’ outcry over piracy in
under-developed nations, particularly when the “best solutions” they’re
putting forward, along the lines of Microsoft Vista’s integrated
digital-rights-management (DRM) architecture, do nothing to address the
root of the problem. These are, in other words, proscriptive rather
than medicative approaches.

In dealing with media piracy there is no 100-percent solution –
theft arguably predates any concept of property. However, reducing the
rate of piracy in Poland to Western levels is a worthy project.
Open-source software, web-based programs and digital download all offer
promise, while bigger players like Microsoft should release products
priced to the local market, if at the cost of a few bells and whistles. It will take some incentive to get Poles to break with tradition.

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