Ubuntu-Pakistan Software Piracy in Pakistan - Building a case for ICT Software Freedom

Fouad Riaz Bajwa bajwa at fossfp.org
Thu Apr 27 16:46:56 BST 2006

Software Piracy in Pakistan - Building a case for ICT Software Freedom:
By Fouad Riaz Bajwa, FOSS Advocate
FOSSFP: Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan 
At this point in time amidst the harsh implications that Pakistani citizens
will shortly be facing after 20th May 2006 when the Anti-Software piracy
crackdown is enforced by Business Software Alliance BSA (Mild least) in
cooperation with the Intellectual Property Organization and Federal
Investigation Authorities of Pakistan, this article is an effort to mobilize
regional and international community support through media and the FOSS
advocates for FOSSFP so that FOSSFP may continue to massively educate and
protect the citizens of Pakistan from the implications of Software Piracy by
educating them on Free and Open Source Software as an alternative to pirated
software. For regular updates on software piracy and the ICT Software
Freedom Movement in Pakistan, kindly visit my blog titled "Copyrights &
Copylefts - In Search of ICT Software Freedom!" at

1) What are the copyright act amendments, addition of Software?
The government has rewritten and amended legislation in the areas of
copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Copyright law in Pakistan was governed
by the Copyright Ordinance 1962. Significant changes were made in it through
the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992 and the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance
2000 whereby Copyright protection originally available to literary,
dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic and architectural works, books,
photographs, newspapers, engravings, lectures, records (defined as "any
disc, tape, wire, perforated roll or other device in which sounds are
embodied so as to be capable of being reproduced there from, other than a
sound track associated with a cinematographic work") and sculptures was
extended to include computer software, periodicals, video films and all
forms of audio-visual works.

As Pakistan is a signatory to Trade Related Intellectual property Rights,
Agreement (TRIPs) under WTO, it was necessary to upgrade the national
intellectual property infrastructure inline to the global trends.
Accordingly the existing legislation on Intellectual Property i.e.
Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks have been upgraded and the revised laws
have been promulgated as follows, 
- The Patents ordinance 2000
- The Registered Designs Ordinance 2000
- The Registered Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Ordinance, 2000
- The Copyrights Ordinance, 1962 (As amended vide Copyrights Ordinance 2000)
- The Trade Marks Ordinance 2001

2) Relevant web links to the government notification?
Pakistan Software Export Board PSEB: 
 - http://www.pseb.org.pk/page.php?page_id=135    
Intellectual Property Rights Organization of Pakistan IPO: 
 - http://www.ipo.gov.pk/introduction.php   
All Pakistan Software House Association P at SHA: 
 - http://www.pasha.org.pk/html_files/policies_antipiracy.htm   
Business Software Alliance BSA: 
- http://www.bsa.org/middleeast/policy/upload/Pakistan-law.bmp  
- http://bsa.org/globalstudy/upload/2005-Global-Study-English.pdf  

3) Identifiable interests that were lobbying in favor of the amendment?
The amendment is definitely not one sided, there are a number of actors here
1. Business Software Alliance Members that are all multinational companies
2. Government actors who want to direct economic and monetary gains from
foreign investments
3. The Pakistani IT Industry, want to protect their IPR and exploit a local
software industry
4. Entrepreneurs who know nothing about the innovative and knowledge
benefits of Free and Open Source Software. 

4) What will be the impact of this change in the copyright rules on the
software industry in Pakistan?
There are three segments of the IT Industry. 
Segment 1: There is segment of the software industry that comes under
document software industry/economy. This segment is the lot of rich and high
revenue generating firms in Pakistan that are using licensed software for
production as well as producing products and solutions for foreign clients
keeping licensing and software code protection in view, these can be
classified as members of the proprietary software industry who have the
money to buy software licenses and produce licensed products. These
companies will benefit the most from the Anti-Software Piracy regime.
Another major beneficiary will be the software developers and hi-tech
innovators/entrepreneurs who rely on developing software products on
proprietary software platforms as resellers or development partners or
inventors, earlier; they would invest in very expensive software development
activity but would not benefit from local market sales as their work would
immediately be pirated and made available as part of a series of pirated
software CDs locally as well as globally. The Anti-Software Piracy campaign
would stop this and help the nation in generating revenue from huge within
the country software sales. This is the Pro-Proprietary Software Industry.
Figures about this segment can be viewed at Pakistani ITeS Industry
Statistics: http://www.pseb.org.pk/page.php?page_id=77  

Segment 2: The second segment of the industry is the undocumented and low
income/revenue generating companies that are neither complying to procuring
licenses for their software production environments nor are producing valid
software licenses/standards compliant software products. These companies are
very small software houses comprising of 3-10 developers and as a whole
constitute well over 50% of the actual software industry and produce
revenues of well over US$145 million a year and the government has no track
of them. These companies work mainly through e-lancing and renta-coder like
websites or through personal contacts abroad. Though this segment is not
document but they still contribute economically to the nation and create
that interest portion that motivates foreigners to recognize Pakistani
software development talent. Still most of the small developers will filter
out who cannot afford licensed versions of proprietary software like
Microsoft XP, MS Office, MS Visual Studio, MS SQL Server, Oracle Database
and Developer Tools. These developers/software companies have been using
pirated software platforms to develop pirated MIS applications for end users
further drowning the end users into software piracy. The total rate of
piracy in Pakistan as identified by BSA and IIPA is 82% as of 2005.

Segment 3: The third segment of the industry is the user segment. The users
are mainly users of the unlicensed versions of MS Windows XP Operating
System, MS Office Tools, end user MIS applications built on pirated software
development platforms, Corel Draw, 3DS Max, Adobe Products etc. They don't
have any knowledge or literacy of licensed software. This constitutes most
of the software users in Pakistan and in some cases, includes the government
departments and academic institutions, for example, the constituent college
of the University of the Punjab (Pakistan's largest and oldest public sector
university) Punjab University College of IT is running 700 desktops on
pirated operating systems, application development platforms including
Visual Studio.net and Oracle DB/Developer. So this the actual portion of the
82% of software piracy in the region.

Another segment is emerging as part of the Open ICT Software Ecosystem, that
is, the Free and Open Source Software User community. This segment has no
issues whether there are Anti-Software Piracy campaigns or not. The
proprietary software industry calls me the FOSS Mullah of the Free Software
movement: due to the fact that I announce that we have our copyrights too,
but these are different, they are meant to protect the freedom of the
software and not block sharing. This pinches the opposition a lot. According
to FOSSFP partners, supporters, mailing lists and volunteer community
members, the Free and Open Source Software community marks well above 15,000
users, developers, administrators, professionals throughout the nation.
7,000 alone are with FOSSFP http://www.fossfp.org, 3,500 are on
http://www.linuxpakistan.net, some are at http://www.osrc.org.pk etc. These
users are adopting various versions of Linux at the desktop and server side
layers. In some cases, the Ubutnu-Linux OS is their preferred desktop as
compared to Windows, Open Office as compared to MS Office and FireFox and
Thunderbird instead of MS Internet Explorer and MS Outlook. The FOSS
movement is changing the way people perceive software not only in Pakistan
but around the globe.

Views of the Free & Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan about this
FOSSFP feels that the amendment to a large extent supports the economic
interest of the Government where Pakistan needs to rebuild the confidence of
foreign investors in areas related to knowledge product development and
capitalization but problems arise where Pakistan is trying to act like a
100% literacy rate country. The real picture is very different; Civil
Society organizations have had no role in the copyright amendments and no
representation on the policy board of the Intellectual Property
Organization, Government of Pakistan. IPO policy board is comprised of MNC
business men only and there is no input from civil society making the
organization a 100% business oriented venture taking steps to fulfill an
economic agenda instead of a socio-economic one. 

Where FOSSFP is struggling to create mass awareness on Software Piracy, its
implications and guiding the citizens of Pakistan towards Free and Open
Source Software, the Government or BSA are going to carryout an activity
that may deprive Pakistanis to their basic human right to use and benefit
from Software ICT Freedom. In a country where the population is well over
160 million, 47% literacy rate with a very small fraction (5-7%) of the
population capable of understanding English language, ICT is still alien to
a large amount of the population. This figure of IT usage within the country
would be between something like 10% only of the total population in the
country and I may be wrong, the amount would go further down according to
the stats presented here at the Internet World Stats website: 

That as of 2006 Pakistan has a domestic Population of 163,985,373, Internet
users in the year 2000 were only 133,900 and now the figure has risen to
7,500,000 Internet users as of Dec./05 with a 4.6% penetration rate, the GNI
p.c.US$ 600 ('04) according to the World Bank and if a Pakistani citizen
buys the complete licenses for an Operating Systems Software and Business
Office Tools to run his computer, he will only be left with US$45 GNI, so
that definitely doesn't seem like an encouragement to use ICTs or share ICT
Software Freedom that proprietary software has never carried.

FOSSFP demands ICT Software Freedom:
- FOSSFP demands representation of Civil Society actors on the IPO policy
- FOSSFP demands that Creative Commons licensing be introduced and
recognized throughout Pakistan. 
- FOSSFP demands that the government carries out a 2 year long nationwide
Anti-Software Piracy and Free & Open Source Software Literacy Campaign in
collaboration with FOSSFP as an alternative to software piracy. 
- FOSSFP demands that the government provides FOSSFP financial and physical
resources to manage the literacy campaign nationwide. 
- FOSSFP demands the government to recognize copyleft freedom regimes as
opposed or parallel to copyrights. 

FOSSFP's Appeal:
FOSSFP is sending out an appeal to global Civil Society and organizations in
the FOSS Community to take action and buy time from the Government of
Pakistan to educate the citizens of Pakistan about Software Piracy and its
alternatives as provided by FOSS and Ubuntu-Linux.

[Background Information on the situation of Software Piracy in the
FOSSFP is a non-profit, charitable ICT foundation assisting the enhancement
of the abilities and capacity of individuals, groups, institutions,
organizations, societies, and government in Pakistan by using Free/Open
Source Software Solutions (FOSS) for their sustained economic and social
development with a special focus on Women and Youth Empowerment through the
use of ICTs. FOSSFP is a licensing body for developing, advocating and
protecting intellectual capital in the region by devising National Free and
Open Source Software Licensing and Software Engineering Standards in order
to establish standardized FOSS licensing and engineering practices in the
region. FOSSFP is facilitating the evolution of an Open ICT Ecosystem in the
region by shaping its activities around enabling ICTs by using Free/Open
Source Software (FOSS) technologies and applications for capacity building,
promotion, advocacy and localization for humanitarian socio-economic

FOSSFP has its presence in the region of Pakistan through its FOSS community
volunteers in the four provinces since February 2004 with its headquarters
in Lahore. After completing its in-house research on evolving a firm
foundation and philosophy for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) adoption,
FOSSFP directed its research on identifying and formulating an Open ICT
Ecosystem for Pakistan. This included identifying the key reasons why FOSS
would emerge as an alternative to the proprietary software Ecosystem in the
region. Key outcomes of the preliminary research were that Pakistan was
plagued with Software Piracy and this percentage was increasing at an
alarming stage in government, academic, commercial and home users. Since
Pakistan is a signatory of WTO/TRIPS, Pakistan has to comply with protecting
intellectual copyrights for its sustainable socio-economic development with
increased pressure from the International Intellectual Property Alliance.
Secondly, the same is an unethical plague that affects future generations
because the country lacked knowledge in issues related to licensing regimes,
proprietary and Free/Open Source software alternatives. FOSSFP established
its vision and mission to help Pakistanis revitalize their ethical
perceptions on the usage and adoption of ICT software and provide them open
alternatives to gain freedom from the software piracy trap. 

Nationwide Public Free & Open Source Software & Anti-Software Piracy
Awareness Campaigns 
The organization made public appearance in April 2005 soon after which
FOSSFP launched its largest public FOSS awareness/mass adoption campaign
FOSSAC'2005 1st National Free and Open Source Software Awareness Campaign in
collaboration with:
1. United Nations Development Programme - International Open Source Network
2. Ubuntu Foundation, Shuttleworth Foundation, South Africa  
3. Canonical Ltd, United Kingdom 
4. Open Source Resource Centre, Pakistan Software Export Board, Ministry of
Information Technology & Telecom, Government of Pakistan 
5. Punjab Information Technology Board, Government of the Punjab 
6. Department of Education, Government of the Punjab 
7. Department of Law, Government of the Punjab 
8. Punjab University College of Information Technology, University of the
FOSSFP-FOSSAC'2005 Outcomes & Benefits
Over 7,000 Professionals from various Public and Private Sector
Organizations, students, and general public have received awareness about
the benefits of Free and Open Source Software. 
Organizations and individuals have been persuaded to use Free &Open Source
Software for their sustainable development. 
Over 4,800 professionals, students, and general public have received free
short term training to begin using Free & Open Source Software. 
Over 506 public and private sector organizations were introduced to Software
Piracy, Free and Open Source Software and Open Alternatives to Software
Campaign Participants received 5,000 free CDs containing Ubuntu-Linux Free &
Open Source Software operating system. 
The participants received awareness about issues regarding Intellectual
Copyright Law and pirated software in Pakistan. 
Government, academia, public and private sector organizations, industry,
NGO's, and others gathered under one roof to achieve the national goal
regarding Free and Open Source Software Technologies awareness, promotion,
adoption and usage. 
Future objectives of FOSSFP-FOSSAC
To reduce the Digital Divide in the region through the adoption of Free and
Open Source Software as an enabler of ICTs with a special focus on Academia,
Public and Private Sectors, Women, Youth and People with Special Needs 
To provide an effective solution to combat Software Piracy in the region by
promoting the usage and adoption of Free and Open Source Software
Technologies and Platforms as an alternative to Pirated Software 
To provide Ubuntu-Linux FOSS training and certification to 100,000 people 
To distribute 100,000 Ubuntu-Linux FOSS CDs free of charge 
To encourage and support other academic institutions/universities to launch
awareness campaigns for their local communities 
To introduce FOSS in 1000 public/private organizations 
To encourage media/press to promote FOSS awareness and adoption 
To attract International Community and their support 
Global Impact of FOSSFP-FOSSAC
>From 2002-2005, Pakistan was on the IIPA 301 Priority Watch List which could
impose trade sanctions and embargoes from the United States and western
world on Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan and FOSSFP's Anti-Software
Piracy/FOSS partnership helped in creating a positive image on the global
community that Pakistan was taking affective and extensive measures to
combat software piracy in the region and reduced the Software Piracy rate
from 83% to 82%. As of February 13, 2006, IIPA submitted its recommendations
on 68 countries to USTR in the 2006 Special 301 review of copyright piracy
and market access problems removing Pakistan from top priority to the watch

IIPA's 2006 Special Recommendations for Pakistan
According to the latest IIPA recommendations report Pakistan needs to take
Actions against Business Software Piracy and Other Forms of Piracy. The rate
of unauthorized use of business software in Pakistan is extremely high.
Inspections should be run against those suspected to be engaged in this form
of piracy, and prosecutions brought. In addition, while many prosecutions
were brought against those engaging in hard disk loading of pirate software
onto computers, the slow pace of court processes and lack of deterrent
sentences has meant those engaging in this activity will not be deterred.
Steps should be taken to reverse this trend.
In this regard the Government of Pakistan and the Business Software Alliance
BSA have made significant raids on the various hardware assemblers in Lahore
and Karachi registering legal offenses under the national copyright laws.
This is increasing an opportunity for FOSS adoption in the region where most
of the consumers will opt for FOSS as Pakistan is a low income country and
purchasing expensive software licensing is not a practice.

United Nations and global FOSS community response to FOSSFP-FOSSAC
The United Nations, various foreign governments and the global FOSS
community responded to FOSSFP initiatives in a positive manner inviting
input from FOSSFP at various levels to incorporate FOSSFP best practices in
to their ICT policies and strategies. 

FOSS-Rising Feature Report -
FOSS-Rising Feature Report Pictures Section -
FOSSAC'2006 2nd National Free and Open Source Software Awareness Campaign -
Ministry of IT&T, Government of Pakistan presentation at Asia-OSS Symposium,
Srilanka, 2005 - (View the last part of the slides)
International Intellectual Property Alliance, 2006 Special 301 Report, on
Global Copyright Protection and Enforcement, Pakistan -
IIPA's press release on its 301 recommendations
International Intellectual Property Alliance, 2006 Special 301 Report, on
Global Copyright Protection and Enforcement, IIPA's 2006 full Special 301
submission - http://www.iipa.com/special301_TOCs/2006_SPEC301_TOC.html   
Government of Pakistan's IPR Page:
UNDP-IOSN invited FOSSFP to present its case study during the FOSSAP-II
Consultations in Cambodia. FOSSFP FOSSAP-II Hybrid Educational Model Case
Study for promoting FOSS
FOSSFP Hybrid Educational Model: http://www.fossfp.org/hybridmodel   
UNDP sponsored FOSSFP to participate in the World Summit on Information
Society Tunis 2005 and preside on panels targeted at FOSS advocacy and
promotion. WSIS Newsroom: 
UNDP Sharing the Future Project at WSIS: http://www.sharingthefuture.org  
FOSSFP-WSIS Information Section: http://www.fossfp.org/wsis  
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has signed a MoU
with FOSSFP for promoting training on Free and Open Source Software in
developing countries. Further partnership information at:
FOSSFA: Free Software and Open Source Foundation of Africa and FOSSFP have
teamed up to form the first Global FOSS Movement and ICT4D Fund. FOSSFA
sponsored FOSSFP to participate in IDLELO2 to share its best practices, the
True Spirit of FOSS and work towards formulating the Global FOSS Movement
and lobbying support from the global community. 

Fouad Riaz Bajwa
General Secretary - FOSS Advocate
FOSSFP: Free & Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan R Secretariat
Office of the General Secretary
Cell: 92-333-4661290
Tel: 92-42-5030039
E-Mail: bajwa at fossfp.org
URL: www.fossfp.org ; www.ubuntu-pk.org
This e-mail message is intended for its recipient only. If you have received
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FOSSFP: Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan (R) takes no
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