Why poor country has high piracy rate?

I came from a third world country, where piracy is a problem. The government and companies that sells music CDs, movies (DVDs and other formats), games, and softwares are complaining about the copyright infringement and other stuffs. But really, what makes these people download and buy pirated stuffs? What makes me download and buy pirated stuffs?

Some pirated software sold in Jakarta ( CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 - Charles Wiriawan )

Money. It’s all about money. Let’s say I want to watch a DVD and it cost me per movie around Rp. 60.000 – Rp. 130.000 (around £4.3 – £9.3) for original movie in Jakarta. Then I look at my monthly salary. According to the law, In 2011 the minimum salary an average person gets in Jakarta is Rp. 1.401.829 per month (around £100), that is Rp. 46.727 per day. A single DVD cost more than a day salary for people who gets minimum salary per month. With £100, a person will spend the money on house to rent, everyday meal, transportation, and if the person has a family to take care, he/she have to set aside the salary to support the family.

Pirated softwares, games, music CDs, and DVD movies cost Rp. 5000 – Rp. 10.000 per CD. With that, a person can enjoy their time listening to music, watching movies, playing games, and even to do their work with the pirated software that they purchase, whilst surviving for their life with the minimum salary that they earn.

With over 238 million population, it is the world’s fourth most populous country. The poor people in 2010 was estimated around 30 million people. That is 12% from the whole population. In reality, the average people above the poor the did not earn the minimum salary. From my experience working in Indonesia for the first time, my first salary was Rp. 2.600.000 per month. That is my salary, a graduate student from a university outside Indonesia. Imagine other people that even did not go to university, and they apply for a job. How much would they earn? And if those people are not considered poor people, imagine the income of those people who are considered poor, the 30 million people. The number speaks for itself.

Some poor people in the suburban Jakarta ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 - Kent Clark )

I’m not saying that I support illegal download and buy pirated stuffs, but what I’m saying is, look at the reason why people did that. I think one of many way to AT LEAST start reducing the number of piracy is to reduce the price of those products (music CDs, movies, games, softwares) so people with low income can afford it, hence not buying the pirated.

The analogy is very simple indeed. If you want to sell a product and want everyone to buy your product, you have to study the target market. The same thing with piracy in third world country. If you want them to buy original products, set the price lower so that people buy the original and won’t bother looking for the pirated version. Why? Because the original is affordable to them, so why would someone bother looking for the pirated one?