Thursday, 30 April, 2009

The Power of One - in Democracy and Piracy

I Voted

India - the world's largest 'real' democracy went to the polls. And nearly a billion people would vote. I was one of them. While standing in the queue, I thought of the publicity in the run up to the elections. Leading persons from various walks of life told us how important voting was. The Times of India ran a special front page telling us about the power of one.

While I stood waiting my turn to vote, I thought about this 'power of one' idea. Its definitely important in democracy. It also applies to piracy. Movie piracy and software piracy. The power of one. Referring to anyone who shadily makes a copy of something he and she's not paid for. They knows its wrong, but do it nevertheless, just because 'everyone does it'. And because he or she won't get caught for it.

Its even more amusing when the film industry - actors, directors, producers - tell us about how bad piracy it. It is bad all right, but some of them do it too. With computer software, if not other people's movies.

The power of one, here too. "So what if I don't pay for MS-Office, I'm only one, Microsoft makes enough money right?" Can be easily rephrased as "So what if I download and watch Ghajini, I'm only one, the producer made 200 crores right?" So here too, 'one' makes a difference because everyone thinks they are 'one'. Just like in voting.

I just checked, Microsoft in India sells MS-Office for as less as Rs 3050. Look here. So all those film producers who moan and whine about piracy while running MS-Office on their laptops and office PCs can now show the power of one, by buying it. Rs 3050 is about what my family blows when we see a movie - just one movie - in a multiplex over the weekend.

For every one producer who uses one copy of MS-office without paying for it, my family watches one movie by downloading it, I think we'll be square. The power of one. Just like in a democracy.

Besides, I get to pay for movie tickets, and I get to pay for computer software, because I care about piracy. Some producers and actors on the other hand, get passes for movie premieres. So they watch movies for free and, (if they don't buy it), get computer software for free too. What are they cribbing about?