UAE cracks down on illegal software

Recent raids conducted by the UAE Ministry of Information found 34 of the Emirate’s resellers in possession of illegal software, including Windows 98, Windows XP, Office XP and Adobe Photoshop.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  August 19, 2002

Recent raids conducted by the UAE Ministry of Information found 34 of the Emirate’s resellers in possession of illegal software, including Windows 98, Windows XP, Office XP and Adobe Photoshop.

The Ministry of Information confiscated 47 PCs loaded with illegal software programs and 550 counterfeit Windows 98, Windows XP, Office 97 and Office XP CDs during the raids.

“The copyright law in the UAE is very clear. It states that those who are caught manufacturing or importing pirated work for either sale, rent, use or circulation without permission, will face the serious consequences that go hand in hand with breaking the law,” said Salem Al-Ameri, general manager, censorship department, Ministry of Information and Culture.

“These include criminal charges and penalties, varying from confiscation of illegal goods, to heavy fines and in some cases a prison term,” added Al-Ameri.

Al-Ameri also criticised resellers for denying software developers legitimate earnings and for endangering users by selling illegal software.

“The resellers found guilty of violating the law by selling unlicensed copies of software need to understand that their illegal activity and earnings are simply not fair on the software developers who invest huge amounts in their research and development. Not only are they making illicit profits but they are putting all users at risk and hurting the legitimate technology industry in general,” he explained.

The UAE’s attempts to reduce piracy activities have also been strengthened by the recent passing of a new Federal Copyright Law, No.7 in the Emirate.

“We believe that education and awareness is the key to controlling the spread of piracy and raids are always taken as a last resort. No action is taken against any company until several notices have been presented, in addition to offers of assistance from the BSA to license their software. If all efforts fail only then will the authorities take action against those companies in breech of the copyright law,” continued Al-Ameri.

“The BSA applauds the UAE Ministry of Information for their unrelenting and dedicated enforcement efforts in the fight against the piracy menace. The result has been, the emergence of the UAE as a role model in combating illegal software and maintaining the lowest piracy levels in the region,” said Jawad Al Redha, regional director, Business Software Alliance.

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