Kuwaiti piracy costs US$100million

According to a report from IFPI and BSA, the music and software industry watchdogs, piracy levels in Kuwait have reached 60% in music and 73% in computer software, amounting to a total loss of US$100 million in 2003 alone.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  March 2, 2004

According to a report from IFPI and BSA, the music and software industry watchdogs, piracy levels in Kuwait have reached 60% in music and 73% in computer software, amounting to a total loss of US$ 100 million in 2003 alone. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents companies that produce and distribute more than 90% of all recordings by Arab artists and has more than 1,500 member record companies in 76 countries worldwide, together with the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the international body that safeguards the intellectual property rights of software developers, are voicing concern over rampant piracy in music and software in Kuwait during 2003, resulting in a loss of US$100 million to both industries. With peer to peer (P2P) tools such as Kazaa, Grokster and other free MP3 and file-sharing tools, users can now download free music, videos and software. The report from BSA did not disclose details about digital music or software piracy in Kuwait across such P2P networks. Kuwait has been named by IFPI and BSA as having one of the highest levels of piracy within the Gulf States. In the year 2003, music piracy for Arabic and International repertoire reached approximately 60%, with even higher figures for the Indian repertoire, whilst software piracy maintained a level of around 73%. Out of the 35,000 PCs sold in 2003, only around 2,000 were uploaded with original software, according to industry figures. “The constantly high rate of music piracy in Kuwait is a setback in our efforts to protect the rights of the international, regional and local music producers in the region. Victims of piracy include music artists, software developers and governments who lose hundreds of millions of tax revenues and economies that are deprived of new investment,” says Willem van Adrichem, regional coordinator, Anti-piracy Enforcement, IFPI. The Kuwait government has recently signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States, which could be the first step to a free trade agreement between Kuwait and the US. The government also enacted a Copyright Law in 1999 that was put into effect in February 2000. The first law of its kind provides protection to artistic and literary works. “We would like to commend these efforts which can give a new direction to the fight against piracy as the protection of Intellectual Property rights in Kuwait is clearly mentioned in the agreement,” says Van Adrichem. According to the Eighth Annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study, Kuwait ranks as the 14th worst country for software piracy in the world. The 16-year old BSA is an international organisation representing leading software and e-commerce developers in 65 countries around the world. “The lack of aggressive measures in Kuwait in this field has led to a rise in software piracy there, defeating our plan to bring about a general reduction in piracy levels across all countries in the region. Software piracy is particularly wide spread amongst small and medium businesses, where it is estimated that only one company out of ten is using legal software,” says Mohammad Al-Dallal, BSA Kuwait."

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