Lankan software piracy rate at 84%, says Daily Mirror


Despite the flurry of “genuine Windows” and antivirus programs in Colombo’s tech scene,  piracy is still rampant throughout the country. An official survey conducted by the Daily Mirror puts the piracy rate at a staggering 84%. That’s 8 people out of ten who are using pirated software.


Instead of repeating the results of this survey, let’s discuss what this means and why this situation exists. I think every Sri Lankan will agree to one thing – genuine software is expensive. Consider a piece of software for $60. For a worker in the United States, paid the absolute minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that’s less than 9 hours work of work – at minimum salary. Contrast that with the Sri Lankan economy , where even $10 a day is considered a mid-level salary. That $60 hits a Sri Lankan worker much harder than it does their counterpart in the United States or other, comparatively developed nations. When their minimum wage – even for an uneducated laborer – is on level with what most of our trainee executives make, spending $60 on an abstract thing like software is almost out of the question for most of Sri Lanka.


So fancy throwing in Rs. 19,000 for a genuine copy of Windows 7 Home Premium? To the average Sri Lankan, that’s a very hefty chunk out of their salary. Given today’s prices, that could be the difference between starving for a month and going to work with a full belly. Now when a cracked copy can be obtained for much less – as in, free, what’s the logical choice? Original software is a luxury that most of the population simply cannot afford. 


Simply put, that 84% use pirated software out of necessity, not out of choice. That gap is simply too large for us to bridge.


The solution is not enforcing anti-piracy laws: the solution is better pricing or better salaries. It’s impossible to give software away for free. Still, forcing people to pay for something they can’t afford is not the optimal path. Until people can actually afford software without going hungry, the software piracy rate is going to remain – and there’s little anyone can do about it. 


Also read Window(s)-Shopping?



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  1. And the next best solution is offering special low rate for our region. For example, I am a die-hard Sim City fan and this time it is DRM protected and costs around 8000 to download and install. But luckily they have a special rate for indian subcontinent which cost around 3800. Compared to 8000 , 3800 is much better and I finally ended up buying and playing the game. Feels good too. Genuine Copy; I get all the updates; etc etc.

  2. I think putting the heads towards to FOSS is a better solution for this. The government has to put the concentration on populating FOSS from grass roots. Schools and the universities are the better place for it.
    Good article! 🙂

  3. Government should have discussed with Microsoft before they start their office in Sri Lanka to reduce their software prices according to our economy. I like free and open source software. But it's not always the best solution when it comes to high-end requirements because there is no good alternative to Photoshop and lot of other industry leading software.

  4. Pricey needs to be removed but cost of 19- 20k + Tax is not a solution for an OS. With PC Sales dropping home users buying legitimate OS is going out. Very Soon Android will take over, even Google chrome is planning. So Microsoft cannot continue to keep their price at 19 or 20k.

    Getting Starter Version is fooling the general public since it has many restrictions and making them and selling it at 10k is a dam crime.

    Again the OS is not free of trouble. So we r paying such high price for a product that is not free of bugs.


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