Microsoft launches global anti-piracy day

Jawad Al Redha, IPR Manager, Microsoft Gulf.Microsoft Gulf recently participated in the Microsoft Global Anti-Piracy Day on 21 October 2008. Microsoft Global Anti-Piracy Day involved the simultaneous launch of education initiatives and enforcement actions in 49 countries on six continents. The programs included intellectual property awareness campaigns, engagements with partner businesses, educational forums and local law enforcement training aimed at encouraging more legal actions against alleged software counterfeiters and pirates.

Microsoft is taking these steps as part of its commitment to working with the community, national governments and local law enforcement agencies around the world to help protect its customers and partners and promote the value of intellectual property as a driver of innovation.

“Software piracy and counterfeiting is a sophisticated, global trade with a damaging impact on consumers, businesses and economies, and Microsoft is committed to working with others around the world to stay a step ahead of this illegal industry,” said David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. “In partnership with national governments, local law enforcement agencies and our customer and partner communities, Microsoft is driving anti-piracy efforts across countries and continents through an equally sophisticated system of business intelligence, forensics and education. Together, we are working to identify international connections points between software pirates and counterfeiters, help stop them in their tracks, and protect consumers and legitimate businesses from this illegal trade.”

Global Anti-Piracy Day provided a 24-hour snapshot on the range of education initiatives and legal actions that are taking place on an ongoing basis in local markets around the world.

“The UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain were especially recognized for their productive efforts against piracy for the past month,” said Jawad Al Redha, IPR Manager, Microsoft Gulf. “In the past month we have witnessed law enforcement conduct successful raids against resellers who were allegedly shipping computers loaded with unlicensed installations of Microsoft software in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. In addition, a commercial roundtable promoting intellectual property awareness, involving representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Information, Kuwait Municipality and Customs, has been planned for Kuwait.”

A Shared Threat, a Shared Response

“There is growing evidence that highly organized, transnational criminal organizations and networks are involved in the counterfeiting of software and other goods. This is a global problem with global sources of supply; this is why we need to work together — the public and the private sectors — to stop this trade,” said John Newton of the Intellectual Property Rights Project, Financial and High-Tech Crime Subdirectorate, INTERPOL General Secretariat. “To that end, Microsoft and INTERPOL are now cooperating with police and customs agencies around the world to use all available intelligence to ensure that our joint investigations lead to arrests and convictions of criminal counterfeiters.”

Protecting Customers

Microsoft is concerned not only about the continued negative impact on economies and legitimate businesses, but the risk to consumers, as well.

“Customers expect to receive genuine, high-quality software, but counterfeit copies often contain malicious code and/or malware and fail to operate properly,” says Dale Waterman, Microsoft’s corporate attorney for anti piracy in the Middle East and Africa, who is also based in Dubai. “This, in turn, can present a significant risk of security breaches and lost business data, damaged reputation, and the need to invest thousands of dollars to recover from incidents of malicious software on individual workstations. Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative is aimed at helping businesses and consumers understand and avoid the risks of using counterfeit software.”

The impact of software piracy in GCC

Mr. Waterman says. “It is a phenomenon which has a number of detrimental effects on the global and local economies. The worldwide software piracy rate increased three percentage points to 38% in 2007. In 2007, losses from piracy rose by more than $8 billion to nearly $48 billion, a 20% increase over 2006. This is why I am really encouraged by the number of recent successful actions undertaken by the law enforcement authorities tasked with protecting IP rights in the GCC region”

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