Computers: Feedback: At last: a free lunch

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The Independent Online
This page has previously discussed (27 May) the problem of copyright in an electronic age: how do you protect copyright - and prices based on intellectual property ownership - when all it takes to copy a piece of software is a couple of minutes and a few 75p floppy disks.

Pirate copying, using cheap and easy methods of reproduction, have underpinned the dramatic fall in the price of software as computers have become a mass consumer item and consumers have been unwilling to pay prices aimed at the corporate market. Now the software company Serif is giving away 100,000 copies of Pageplus Intro a cut- down version of its Pageplus which was well reviewed on these pages (29 April).

Serif's aim is to build up a large customer base which, if satisfied with the program will buy other products - either to complement Intro, such as additional typfaces, or upgrades, such as the new version 3 of Pageplus which is due to be launched in 10 days at an expected street price of about pounds 60 - Pageplus Intro customers will be able to buy it for half that.

'Computers are now mass consumer items like washing machines or microwaves,' Simon Rudkin, vice-president of European marketing for Serif, said. 'Suppliers of ancillary programs simply have to get them into the market, like eggs or bacon.'

Intro comes with manuals and free support. It needs Windows 3.1 and about 3 megabytes of hard disk space. The main limitation is that each Pageplus file can only be single page (each page of a leaflet would have to be done separately). The offer is limited to the first 100,000 callers. The offer number is 0800 924925.

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