Report: Saudi Arabia has highest piracy levels in ME

Website on ongoing copyright cases set up to boost transparency

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 24, 2008

Saudi Arabia is stepping up efforts in their mission to curb software and copyright piracy of all kinds in the Kingdom by launching a website on ongoing anti-piracy cases.

Launched by the Ministry of Culture and Information, it aims to improve transparency after the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommended to move the Kingdom from its Watch List in 2007 to its Priority Watch List in 2008 as piracy losses continued to grow.

The IIPA report stated that: "Saudi Arabia is generally viewed as having the worst enforcement regime and, for most copyright industries, the highest piracy levels in the Middle East."

A private-sector coalition of seven trade association representing over 1,900 companies throughout the world, the IIPA helps prepare annual ‘Special 301’ reviews on whether policies of any foreign country deny effective protection of intellectual property rights or fair market access.

The website, which can be accessed here, still hasn’t gone live. Commenting on why the site is not yet operational, an inside source confirmed to itp.net that “it is taking time because they have loads of cases.”

“We are all hopeful that this new transparency will lead to deterrent fines and penalties for shops and street vendors dealing in pirate products, and imprisonment in serious piracy cases, in order to bring much needed deterrence into the Kingdom’s enforcement system” said Eric Smith, president of the IIPA.

Working with the IIPA, Saudi Arabia has revealed that its plan for 2008 will focus on completing the transparency process, deterrent enforcement, the legal use of copyrighted software in the government and Saudi enterprises, and copyright law reform.

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