The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and The Software Alliance (BSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on creating awareness amongst Small & Medium Enterprises regarding the risks of Intellectual Property (IP) rights infringement besides building capacities for law enforcement agencies on IP.
Established in 1927, FICCI is the largest and oldest apex business organisation in India. A non-government, not-for-profit organisation, FICCI is the voice of India's business and industry. BSA is a trade group established in 1988 and represents world's largest software makers.
FICCI and BSA will partner to run a three-year long campaign in different states and conduct a series of activities that aim to create a favorable environment for IP protection in the country, thereby helping to reduce the piracy rate.
Jyoti Vij, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI commented that this campaign is intended to create awareness of this important national issue among "all sections of society, including policy makers, legislators, and the Indian public at large".
According to a recent BSA and INSEAD study, a 1 percent increase in use of licensed software generates almost US$1.3 billion in national production, compared to US$554 million from a similar increase in pirated software.
Use of pirated software is a common malaise in small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India. Most SMBs, especially those in non-technology domains, use pirated software for office productivity, publishing, designing, and accounting. Recently, software majors like Adobe and Microsoft have started offering software as a subscription at very competitive prices to convert such customers to genuine software.
In the first phase of the partnership, the campaign will be rolled out in Gujarat and Rajasthan with capacity building workshops for the law enforcement agencies such as police and customs in these states to help strengthen government machinery to handle IP rights infringement issues.
FICCI will also organize awareness building programmes for the industry, particularly Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on the risks and business costs associated with using pirated software and on the importance of software asset management.
Highlighting the need for the campaign, Yolynd Lobo, BSA’s Director for India said, "Protection of intellectual property rights is a crucial aspect that will drive software innovation in India. The government of India has already taken steps to foster this culture of innovation and we believe efforts like these will add further momentum."
Lobo added that it is encouraging to see that there is a growing realization among many Indian SMBs that pirated software can have negative financial implications for their businesses in the long run, particularly if they are doing business with global companies.