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Omani authorities hit software pirates

Oman's Ministry of Heritage and Culture has carried out a record seven anti-piracy raids in one day in the city of Ruwi, confiscating over 70 computers and over 200 unlicensed applications.

Omani authorities have clamped down on software piracy with seven raids carried out on Thursday. The raids in Ruwi, carried out by the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture, netted 72 computers and over 200 illegal copies of software.

The raids targeted a range of business segments, hitting professional service organisations across the city. The businesses affected now face prosecution, as well as the confiscation of business hardware.

"This has been the most concerted effort to date targeting end users, companies that are using illegal software in their businesses, in Oman," said BSA (Business Software Alliance) regional director Jawad Al Redha. "The Ministry targeted different parts of Muscat, and visited companies that were known to be using illegal software. All of these companies have been warned repeatedly that they need to legalise their software."

Unlicensed software from Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and AutoDesk were all discovered. For many of the companies involved, these were key business applications, said Al Redha. "Every one of these companies was using AutoCAD, for instance: a key software application for the construction and contracting industries. Not one of these companies had paid for licensed copies of this package, yet were using the software in order to run their businesses," he said.

“There can be no doubt whatsoever that the law is being applied in Oman with absolute rigour. The warning for anyone dealing in illegal software or using illegal software could not be more clear," said Al Redha.

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