On April 21, BOD Group High Technology Centre L.I.G.H.T. WING hosted the first conference of the Clear Digital World (CDW) cluster, “Copyright and related rights in the IT business”. At this event, Tadas Lozovskis, Associate Professor at Vilnius University, Dr. Stasys Drazdauskas, lawyer at BORENIUS, Vilma Misiukonienė, an INFOBALT representative and EU affairs manager, and Dr. Irmantas Kandratavičius, ALNA Software director, asked participants what problems developers and specialists in various IT areas face when managing and representing their interests.
What should every developer of computer games, mobile applications and software, and each programmer and IT business representative know about copyright? Does Lithuania’s current legislation cover all problems relating to IT businesses? And if not, what should be changed?
According to data available to the Baltic Software Alliance (BSA), Eastern Europe – including Lithuania – ¬regularly appears at the top of the global list on piracy. No wonder the issue is really relevant in Lithuania. As the published data suggest that every second of Lithuanian computer owners use illegal software, leading to a loss of approximately €34 million among software developers in Lithuania in 2013 alone. Clear Digital World (CDW) was established in 2011 to bring changes to these indicators and national piracy levels, and currently has 15 active members.
According to Rimgaudas Kalvaitis, coordinator of the CDW cluster: “Our intention when setting up the cluster was not to replace the police and prosecute offenders, but to join forces and develop technologies and solutions with the potential of preventing the illegal use of intellectual property in the digital field. The purpose of the cluster is to educate the general public and develop a habit of not engaging in piracy, providing people with the opportunity to have access to digital content of one’s choice both legally and under acceptable conditions.”
According to the available statistics, the last decade has seen only 5% drop in the national piracy rate; thus, according to Kalvaitis, the stagnant situation continues to have a negative effect on both the operation of cluster members and on users: “CDW now includes legal entities with products, services and activities related to the development, reproduction, publication, distribution and protection of various objects of intellectual property in Lithuania and elsewhere. For years now, members of the cluster have observed the illegal use of works online and other instances of theft of their intellectual property on a huge scale; clearly, there is a direct threat to business stability and sustainable g. This is not to say, however, that the cluster focuses on the well-being of its members alone, since with the drop in losses caused by piracy, members of the cluster will seek to provide users with the same content at a lower price.“
The cluster, which was initially engaged only in market surveys, currently gathers and examines information on the scale of piracy in Lithuania, as well as analysing the sources of downloading illegal works and taking an interest in the motivation of users to steal a product rather than purchasing it legally. According to Romanas Matulis, marketing manager at the cluster, once the situation is examined, the general public shall first be educated in the fields of technology and law, and later, steps will be taken to offer users a potential alternative for the purchase of films. Any planned solutions should bring economic benefit to both the creators and distributors of digital products.