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Rogue trader pays penalty

Software pirate cuts deal with Microsoft.

Microsoft has reached an out-of-court settlement with UAE software trader Royal Focus. The trading enterprise was raided, with the co-operation of the Business Software Alliance and government officials, to curb levels of piracy in the region. The out-of-court agreement saw Royal Focus sign an undertaking to abstain from utilising, exhibiting or soliciting any pirated software from Microsoft. The liability amount will be increased if evidence of further infringement is found.

Tolga Altinordu, OEM director at Microsoft Gulf, claims the vendor is determined to reduce software piracy in the Middle East region through legitimate means, adding that piracy is not a victimless crime.

"It has destructive potential of stifling creativity, hampering economic growth, eroding trust and perverting business environments," he explained. "In addition, flawed pirated software leaves a firm open to exploitation from hackers, potential data loss and theft, increasing chances of direct financial losses."

According to Altinordu, Microsoft will take a strict line on any companies found to be selling pirated software: "We are conducting a comprehensive array of raids through intelligence gathered from public and private sector partners, and will prosecute firms found to be in abeyance of IPR laws."

Altinordu says an out of court settlement was made with Royal Focus because the software and computing trader was eager to resolve the matter with the vendor.

"We acknowledge the firm's cooperation in this regard and are confident that they will here forth respect intellectual property. However, we are prepared and ready to commence legal proceedings against repeat offenders, or entities that try misleading us about their use of pirated software," said Altinordu.

Juma Al Leem, director of the censorship department at the Dubai government, said: "The UAE is trying to build a society that respects creativity, innovation and protects intellectual property rights. Our role is to assist all concerned parties in building a society that is free from piracy to help establish a strong community that will respect each other. Microsoft and the BSA's efforts to crack down against corporations and individuals that flaunt the principles of IPR will have a massively buoyant effect on regional creative capital and will catalyse strong growth in the IT sector and software industry," he added.

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