Kuwait clamps down on software piracy

Authorities from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information and the District Attorney's Office have raided a leading engineering consultancy in Hawalli in the ongoing fight against piracy.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  March 20, 2001

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Information (MOI) continues to wage war against software piracy, with another raid against corporate culprits. The MOI and the District Attorney’s Office raided the offices of a leading engineering consultancy in Hawalli and confiscated a number of PCs that were using illegally copied software. The company now faces fines, and possible imprisonment of directors, according to the MOI.

The joint operation found twenty four PCs with illegal unlicensed software, including 19 deployments of AutoCAD, which was a core tool for the business of the company, along with other applications from Lotus, Microsoft, Symantec, Network Associates, Adobe and Corel. The company had been warned before that it was breaking the law, said Jawad Al Redha, regional director of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), but it still persisted with the pirate software.

"We warned this company several times that it could face this type of action if it did not legalise its software. We do not want companies to get into these types of situation and we don't like being responsible for bringing these companies to book. The consequences are highly unpleasant and include raids, lost productivity, fines, damage to reputations and even prison sentences. But when an organisation breaks the law and ignores repeated warnings, this is the result," said Al Redha.

"In this case, the company concerned was using AutoCAD as a core business tool to allow it to operate in today's competitive consulting market. Because it was doing so illegally, it was competing in the market using the unfair advantage of having no investment in CAD software to pay for, as well as cheating the company that developed the software, and its resellers in Kuwait. The company now faces the potentially severe consequences of its actions," Al Redha commented.

He also praised the Kuwaiti authorities for their action in shutting down the perpetrators: "We have found the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information and the District Attorney's Office in Kuwait to be a highly capable and effective team, and they are very serious regarding this important issue. There is no mistaking the strength of their intent, and companies need to review their software installations as a matter of urgency to ensure that they are in compliance with the law," said Al Redha.

The BSA is offering companies that want to legalise their software advice and assistance on illegal software and on how to make sure businesses comply with the law through the following hotline numbers:

Kuwait Hotline: (965) 2438033
UAE Hotline: (971) 800 4828
Cairo Hotline: (202) 33 99 382
Saudi Arabia Hotline: (966) 800 124 8999
Other countries: (9714) 332 2307

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