The department of electronics (DoE) has decided to encourage copycatting, going head-on against the international go-ahead given to software developers to zealously guard their products to prevent piracy. DoE unveiled X-Mail, a software costing over Rs 1 lakh, in early August, giving the green signal to pirates cruising at the edge of the software industry at the same time -- the package surprisingly comes with the express instruction that the holders can "use, reproduce and copy" it.
Not that the package, developed by the Ernet group of DoE, has not been copyrighted. But as Ernet's project director, S Ramakrishnan, explains, "We had to go in for copy protection only to prevent any future user of the package laying claim to it and accusing us of piracy." He maintains that if the package was priced, "people would have pirated the software anyway".
One possible result of the move could be the lowering of prices of similar packages in the market. Some vendors have already approached Ernet, including HCL-Hewlett Packard and Wipro, for permission to supply the package to clients along with their systems.