Poland: How to Fight Illegal Sales of Games, Films & Music?

Like any other country, Poland has a strong tradition of markets. Last century brought a slight shift in the value delivered by those markets, though. We can still find traditional markets selling food and antiques in any larger city. But the most popular ones are markets famous for availability of illegal games, films and music. Simply because it's cheaper.

Now, a Polish news site Gazeta.pl is posting an article (POL) about the challenges facing the authorities in that matter. Police struggle with identifying the sources and lowering the actual sales on those markets – but not because of some attractive prizes: very often producers of original software or publications encourage illegal sales to promote the brand/product and to force users to turn to the original producers for upgrades, follow-ups, enhancements. The article in Gazeta.pl has generated a huge discussion on its forums.

One of the Gazeta Forum users, Pawel, mentions (POL) that the problem is even more complex, since software can also be illegally downloaded from the Internet:

[…] Let me invite you to the market in Wroclaw on Sunday – I am standing just opposite those pirates who just stand there ‘with no shame’ and once police arrive, they are all gone, since everyone knew the police were coming. Nothing ever changes. And all those films, games, etc. can be downloaded from the web and burned on DVD. […]

Another person, fixumdyrdum2, is convinced (POL) that illegal copies from the market are much better than the purchased ones:

[…] Buying software results in software which is just as illegal as the [pirate copy], but with more difficult update options. I can easily buy a pirate copy after the software update, with the next [Service Pack]. […]

User p24 seems to touch upon (POL) the real reason for illegal software downloads – high prices:

I would regret spending 20PLZ on a program from the market and I wouldn't feel like walking there if I can download it for free from the web anytime. Maybe you cannot get everything, but quite a lot. This war cannot be won by police. Maybe only some battles. Unless the prices go down.

Let's not forget, as homo_googleticus mentions (POL), that we are talking about illegal behaviour here:

[…] As far as I can see, no one is calling a ‘pirate’ a THIEF and illegal sales STEALING. It becomes quite clear in the light of comments to this article. […]

RT-bloguje posted an insightful blog post (POL) on the topic where the conclusion is the same – if the price of the products were affordable, people would actually prefer original copies:

[…] Personally, I would be more than happy right now to pay for downloading films, music or books from the web if the form of payment were friendly and the prices not too high. If I could, for instance, receive films attached to magazines for an amount similar to the magazine price (or maybe even lower). Of course, I would pay more for a newer release. […]

Is it achievable? Time will show.


  • […] right, the first article about Polish issues is up on Global Voices. I do not think it’s the best I could do, and I actually found it […]

  • Hello, some corrections seem necessary.

    Poland is not a country where it is obvious that pirate content markets are more popular than food markets. In the capital city of Warsaw there are certainly more of the latter kind – and even at the market portrayed in the article, most sellers sell legal hardware and software.

    Also, the part about police, prizes, struggling and incentives is confusing. Certainly, it is not so that police is struggling because producers are encouraging and thus making their work hard! And “attractive prizes” are also not – as could be inferred from the text – an obvious incentive for Police.

    Though, actually, there has been a case of an industry association awarding rewards to the police for their anti-piracy work. This has garnered some media attention, with at least one respected commenter describing this as a potentially illegal, or at least un-ethical practice.

  • Peter

    Sylwia Presley, why do not you write an article about illegal sales of games, films and music in England? I use to live there for about 2 years and watched illegal DVD and played illegal games every day – do you know who brought ones to me? my English friends who downloaded ones from Internet. they also showed me a list of illegally downloaded dvd movies and music which i can by from them. and you know what? English are not scared when they download illegal movies or music from Internet because Police don’t do anything to stop that! I know that Polish download less movies and music from an Internet than English cause in Poland Police arests pirates who sell illegal dvd’s or games on the street or download ones at home but in England Police do not care!!
    So, next time show the promblem with pirates in the UK, not in Poland cause because of the article like your, people around the world have bad opinion about Poland!!!!

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