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

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Poland, Economics & Business, Film, Law, Media & Journalism, Music, Technology

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 [1] (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 [2] (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 [3] (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 [4]], but with more difficult update options. I can easily buy a pirate copy after the software update, with the next [Service Pack [5]]. […]

User p24 seems to touch upon [6] (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 [7] (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 [8] (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.