Omani corporate pirates brought to book

A major Omani company has been raided by Ministry of National Heritage officials in an action that saw the discovery of 62 personal computers with illegal software installed on them.

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By  Rob Corder Published  March 4, 2001

A major and established Omani company has been raided by Ministry of National Heritage officials in an action that saw the discovery of 62 personal computers with illegal software installed on them. The family-owned enterprise now faces the likelihood of prosecution under Oman's copyright law.

BSA's policy is not to release the names of raided companies to the public, but says that the company raided was of sufficient standing in Oman to demonstrate that nobody is above the law.

"The Omani authorities are enforcing the copyright law, regardless of the standing of the company involved. This is a clear signal to companies in the Sultanate that they need to review their software resources and ensure that they are using legal, licensed software," commented Jawad Al Redha, regional director of the BSA (Business Software Alliance). "This kind of action is totally avoidable. The BSA issues warnings to companies time and time again before reporting them to the authorities."

The BSA reported the end user company to the Ministry following reports that the organisation was using unlicensed software in its business operations. Investigators uncovered illegal software packages from Adobe, Lotus, Macromedia, AutoDesk, Symantec, Network Associates and Microsoft in use at the company.

"We genuinely regret that action of this sort is necessary to protect the rights of copyright owners. However, using these business tools without paying for them is no
longer an accepted practice in Oman, and companies face the risk of raids, confiscation of hardware and software and subsequent prosecution if they persist in illegally using software that has not been paid for," said Al Redha.

The report of the investigation is being sent to the Public Prosecutor for filing criminal charges against the company. The penalty in Oman for the use of illegal software can include a jail sentence of up to 2 years and fines of up to OR 2,000.

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