US$1.2 billion lost to MENA software pirates

The level of software piracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region fell slightly last year, but still accounted for US$1.2 billion of lost revenue, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 19, 2005

The level of software piracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region fell slightly last year, but still accounted for US$1.2 billion of lost revenue, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA). According to the BSA's own research, the UAE registered the lowest piracy rate in the region - 34% - which the BSA claims is lower than several ‘developed’ countries. Speaking today at a Dubai press conference to present the BSA’s research findings, Jawad Al Redha, who is co-chairman of BSA Middle East, said the key finding of his organisation’s study was that software piracy levels had “more or less remained stagnant in the Middle East and North-Africa region,” with most countries in the region only succeeding in reducing levels “marginally”. According to the BSA, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco showed a marginal decrease in piracy, while in other GCC countries the levels remained relatively stable. Among GCC countries, Oman’s piracy level stands at 64%, Kuwait’s at 68%, with Bahrain and Qatar at 62%. The UAE’s piracy levels however were lower than some developed countries, including France (45%), Greece (62%) and Spain (43%). Despite the region’s overall slow progress in tackling piracy, Al Redha was keen to see the glass as half full, commenting that “from the perspective of what has already been achieved over the past few years, it is commendable that between 1994 and 2002 the Middle East and Africa region recorded the most significant reduction in software piracy, with a drop of 31 points, from 80% to 49%.” The UAE’s current position as a regional knowledge hub, he added, had been facilitated in part by the country’s dedication to slashing piracy rates. The BSA, like its partner organisation the Arabian Antipiracy Alliance, is funded by software vendors to help protect their intellectual property. The BSA has set-up anti-piracy hotlines through which the public can report piracy. In the UAE the number is 800 4828, in Kuwait it is 243 8033, and in other countries across the region it’s +9714 332 2307.

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