Tackling software piracy

Naser Samaenah, regional license compliance manager, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Adobe Systems, talks about software piracy and how the company is working with channel partners, regional governments and end-users to get rid of the scourge.

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Tackling software piracy Naser Samaenah, Regional License Compliance Manager, Middle East and North Africa (Mena), Adobe Systems
By  Manda Banda Published  July 24, 2012

Naser Samaenah, regional license compliance manager, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Adobe Systems, talks about software piracy and how the company is working with channel partners, regional governments and end-users to get rid of the scourge.

Alack of respect for intellectual property (IPR) laws is costing the Middle East IT sector billions of dollars, according to experts on software piracy. A report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has revealed that emerging markets drove the commercial value of software theft to a new record $63.4 billion in 2011.

The ninth-annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study, conducted in conjunction with IDC, recently revealed that over half the world’s PC users (57%) admitted they used pirated software. The net effect fuelled a global software piracy rate of 42% in 2011, says the BSA.

According to the BSA, the commercial value of all pirated software climbed from $58.8 billion in 2010 to $63.4 billion in 2011, a new record, propelled by PC shipments to emerging economies where piracy rates are highest.

In the same report, the BSA says that the commercial value of unlicensed software in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region amounted to just under $4.2 billion in 2011. In addition to this, software piracy results in job losses and missed job opportunities for people involved in the IT software industry.

Analysis by the BSA shows that reducing the software piracy rate in a country by 10 points over four years could earn the local IT sector an extra $302m and would generate almost a thousand jobs in the IT sector.

Software vendors operating in the region have to work hard to keep piracy rates involving their software down. One such company is Adobe which has software working across numerous sectors.

Naser Samaenah, regional license compliance manager, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Adobe Systems, said for the past few years software piracy levels in the MENA region have posted a marginal decrease. Samaenah said year after year Adobe’s efforts and collaboration with governments and IPR authorities are contributing to decreasing software piracy. “Working in tandem with our partners in the government and private sectors, we are looking forward to achieving an even bigger drop in the rate of piracy in the coming years, which will ultimately benefit regional governments in the region, businesses and consumers,” he said.

According to Samaenah, this will also empower software developers and related companies to be more innovative and creative in introducing new applications, while opening more job opportunities for young IT professionals and fresh graduates.

Samaenah said although there are several factors that contribute to software piracy, a lack of awareness about the dangers of piracy is a major challenge because it makes consumers and businesses prone to breach IPR laws in the region. “According to our research and the interviews we have conducted with a lot of companies across the region, there is generally a lack of understanding and consequently a lack of concern for the consequences of using illegal software or unlicensed products,” he noted.

A recent survey, showed that 80% of the respondents fail to identify the operational and viral threats to businesses of using pirated software, thus further emphasising the need to create greater awareness among resellers and end-users about using only genuine products,” he emphasised.

Aside from the lack of awareness, one of the key challenges that software companies such as Adobe face in the Middle East is that many people don’t respect IPR laws. “We need to continue our sustained efforts to create greater awareness about the need for IPR protection. To drive home the message, there is an urgent need to highlight the gravity of the situation and how this may ultimately affect the channel and the end-users alike,” he said. “They need to understand the negative impact and consequences of software piracy and to know that they play an equally important role in the fight against piracy by providing information about piracy activities so that necessary action can be taken immediately.”

1491 days ago
Maria S. Walker

Software privacy should be kept secured as what the name should imply. Vendors should really have to be extra careful in securing the privacy and shutting off piracy when it comes to the software that they are selling. This would not only help end users get the legitimate software but it will mostly has an effect on the vendors themselves specially with reliability and customer satisfaction issues.

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