Progress against piracy

The BSA released its latest figures on software piracy today, with the Middle East one of the few regions where piracy rates have dropped.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  June 9, 2002

The BSA released its latest figures on software piracy today, with the Middle East one of the few regions where piracy rates have dropped.

The news is good for the BSA in the region, with Saudi Arabia reporting the second greatest drop in piracy worldwide, and the UAE now showing a lesser rate of piracy than several European countries, including France.

The BSA attributed the progress it has made to the continued efforts of the region’s governments, and to a maturing reseller channel, and to a growing awareness of the damage that piracy does to a market.

The fact is, however, that according to the BSA figures, one in two PCs in the Middle East is loaded with illegally copied software. Globally the rate of piracy has increased, and has only declined by 8% overall since 1994.

If the Middle East is going to keep pushing down piracy rates, the vendors and the channel are going to have to find new ways to control piracy.

On the government side, laws are slowly being put in place to govern intellectual property, but it is happening slowly, and failure to take action on copyright means that many countries are still on the US copyright infringement watch list.

From the vendors side, variable pricing throughout the region allows for a better reflection of the economic situation in different countries, and academic licences mean that students are not denied software, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The problem now is convincing every one in two PC users, that it is not worth using pirated software.

Of course, this means investment from software vendors, and this investment is especially important here in the Middle East to ensure that Arabic versions of software get produced. The Middle East, though, isn’t the biggest market in the world, and not all software vendors want or can afford to invest here. The BSA has done a lot of good work, but it can’t do it all by itself.

Everyone involved in the software business in the Middle East is going to have to continue to make progress against piracy to convince the vendors that the region is worth investing in.

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