Saudi announces crackdown on copyright piracy

Ministry of Culture and Information launches website to improve transparency in fight against counterfeiters.

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By  James Exelby Published  September 24, 2008

Saudi Arabia has launched a major crackdown on copyright piracy, backed up by tougher penalties, the country's Ministry of Culture and Information (MoCI) said on Wednesday. 

The MoCI has set up a public website on which critical information on copyright anti-piracy cases will be posted, the ministry said in a statement.

The website can be found at http://www.info.gov.sa/info/copyrights/followup.aspx.

The Kingdom is the first country in the region to implement such an enforcement transparency initiative, it added.

The statement quoted Eric Smith, president of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) as saying: “We commend the KSA Government... for taking this historic step forward in the fight against piracy in the Kingdom.
 
"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."

In 2006, Saudi Arabia committed itself to a tougher stance against intellectual property rights (IPR) violations in meetings with the US government and with IIPA.

For 2008, the KSA, working with the IIPA will focus on completing the transparency process, on deterrent enforcement, the legal use of copyrighted software in the government and Saudi enterprises, and copyright law reform, the statement said.

Scot Butler, CEO, Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA), added: "Piracy compromises economic growth and innovation; it also violates the law, causes substantial businesses losses, and victimizes consumers. In addition, these criminal acts tarnish the Kingdom’s image around the world."

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