Five arrested in distributor raids

UAE authorities have stepped up a gear in their crackdown on software pirates, with raids on two distributors in Dubai, leading to five arrests for violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and infringement of both copyright and publishing laws.

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By  Andy Tillett Published  July 24, 2005

UAE authorities have stepped up a gear in their crackdown on software pirates, with raids on two distributors in Dubai, leading to five arrests for violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and infringement of both copyright and publishing laws. Four computers loaded with illegal software and 124 pirated software CDs were confiscated in the raids on the as yet unnamed distributors. The computers contained illegal versions of Windows XP, MS Office, AutoCad and Norton Anti Virus. “The UAE is the best country for raids because the government actually take it very seriously. We have seized millions of pirated versions of software, films and DVDs in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia but we have only just started to get prosecutions in these countries. In the UAE authorities don’t hesitate to put offenders in jail. We always push for imprisonment, or at the least a heavy fine. The government in the UAE takes pirated software very seriously,” said Ola Khudair, spokesperson for the Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance (AAA), which is funded in part by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the company that supplied the information leading to the raids. The Second Annual BSA and International Data Corporation (IDC) Global Software Piracy Study says that the UAE has the 14th lowest piracy rate in the world, the lowest in the whole Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It says: “The United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a 34% piracy rate, is the only emerging economy listed among the top 20 low piracy nations. This is attributable to deliberate attempts to adopt stronger intellectual property protections during the 1990s, when a new generation of policymakers came into power and began luring foreign investments.” The piracy report looked at over 65 countries and found that although piracy rates decreased in 37 countries, they increased in 34. In more than half the countries studied, piracy was above 60%. In 24 countries, the piracy rate exceeded 75%. Just over a third of the countries studied had a piracy rate of less than 50%.

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