Berkman Center logo



BOLD 2003: Development and the Internet

Module I
Module II
Module III
Module IV
Module V


Choice D: (return to beginning)

Access to the software is widespread. However, local software industries are suffering – without effective IPR, they are in need of incentives. Literacy, language and cultural issues are also hampering use. You are in desperate need of locally appropriate software solutions. The latest version of the software won’t run on older hardware platforms with limited memory, which is further limiting use. The WTO has threatened trade sanctions. You would:

(i) implement TRIPS but make few efforts to enforce it
(ii) implement TRIPS and rigorously enforce it, accompanied by a massive media campaign to “Just say no to piracy”
(iii) create a media campaign that promotes computer software innovators as national heroes
(iv) create a government sponsored computer software industry, in conjunction with state universities








The domestic computer software industry has not grown and is unlikely to become a significant export industry. Some local innovation remains but there continues to be a lack of locally relevant software. The penetration of the latest foreign software is high however. Foreign investment in the computer software industry is low and the WTO has implemented some trade sanctions against you (although still considers you an important trade partner). The US software industry has created its own police force and offered to assist you in raiding local businesses to uncover and punish pirates. Microsoft would not release the latest version of its operating system into your country but you were able to pirate a test version of the software and its use is now widespread. An underground piracy industry has led to organized crime within the country. (back to top)
















The population cannot afford the software at world market prices and so, in areas where enforcement has been rigorous, access has simply been denied. Enforcement has put a strain on your nations police resources, diverting attention from violent and white collar crimes. In many areas, enforcement has been almost impossible because of a deeply entrenched culture of piracy. Some small villages whose primary industries were entirely based on piracy, have fallen into economic ruin and the government is being asked to provide humanitarian relief. On the other hand, there are seeds of a growing software industry- Microsoft announced the opening of a new office in your country, and a number of local start-ups are starting to emerge. (back to top)
















The promise of national praise and respect has been a powerful motivator for a few computer software innovators and has produced some results. However, the economic pressures facing most companies have limited the impact of this strategy – few are able to work for free, and so development has been slow despite unlimited access to the raw materials of software development and the free-riding advantage. The WTO has implemented some limited trade sanctions. Access to foreign software remains relatively high. (back to top)















There is a thriving local computer software industry. However, the government tightly controls all of the projects. Many worthwhile projects suffer from underfunding and some projects (for example, the development of state filtering and monitoring technology for the Internet) are occupying a disproportionate amount of resources. International investment remains low. Access to foreign software remains high. (back to top)