This is my first entry in English. I am going to write my thesis soon but I do not have a topic yet. For now, I am interested in software copyright and patent, TRIPS and development. One of my idea of the upcoming thesis is software copyright and patent in relation with development. As everybody know, in the modern time, software play an important part in many governance’s development policy. It is not surprise to know that in developing countries, the piracy rate is extremely high. I do not have a concrete figure, but some years ago I read that the piracy rate in Vietnam is about 80%. For me, I believe that the number must be higher as nobody really cares about copyright, patent or trademark in Vietnam.
One can easily buy expensive software such as Photoshop, MS Office etc for about 50 euro cent without any problem. Even if you are someone that really cares about IP law and you wish to buy authorized version of the software, it is not easy for several reasons. Take Adobe Photoshop CS6 as an example. First, there are only a few big software companies have authorized dealers in Vietnam (e.g Microsoft). There is no Adobe store in Vietnam, hence, you have either go abroad to buy Adobe’s software or you have to buy it online.
This leads to another problem. The majority of Vietnamese do not have a bank account or credit cards. It is not because of the paperwork or troubles to open one. The process to open a bank account in Vietnam is not complex, it even much more easier than open one in Finland. The most popular kind of bank cards in Vietnam is debit card, and you can find ATM every where in big cities. But that’s it. The issue here is credit card is not very useful in Vietnam, as only a few stores, most of them have a lot of foreign customers or tourists, accept credit card payment. Elsewhere, cash is king. Go to supermarket and buy a beer? Cash please. Want to pay for taxi by your card? You must have a good sense of humor.
In case all the mentioned hassles cannot stop you to get a credit card, there are sill a few problems left. Not every online store accept credit cards from Vietnam (surprise?).Of course, Paypal is always available, but you cannot directly withdraw from your Paypal account yet. After all the troubles, now you can enjoy your brand new authorized software.
But wait a minute, you have to pay the same price as any other customers in developed countries. True, 199$ is still expensive, but it is only 0.4% of Finland’s GDP per capital for example, while it accounts for 7.2% of Vietnam’s. Relatively, the price for an average Vietnamese customer is 18 times higher than a Finnish one. So does it make sense for a customer to overcome all the mentioned troubles to pay for a price that 18 times higher why she can go to the next corner to buy a pirated copy for only 50 euro cents? I am not encourage piracy, but let’s face the truth, most of rational customers will buy the pirated one, especially when they do not have to fear for any kinds of legal punishment whatsoever. It is an endless cycle, when enterprises are afraid of establishing software stores in Vietnam due to high piracy rate, while lack of authorized stores leave customers no choice but opt for pirated one.