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BSA announces the "Great Opportunity"

The BSA's 45-day amnesty campaign titled “Great Opportunity”, which begins on the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, will allow end-users time to legalise their unlicensed software, without penalty.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) announced that it will begin a 45-day amnesty campaign titled “Great Opportunity”, which will allow end-users time to legalise their unlicensed software, without any penalty. During the period, the BSA will suspend all raids against end users and will take no legal action against offenders. The campaign is slated to begin on the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The organisation, which has an open budget for the campaign, thanks to the resources of its members, will send out over 7,000 letters to end-users on its database to ensure that companies would have heard of the campaign. “We really see this as an awareness campaign for companies,” said Jawad Al Redha, regional director, BSA Middle East. “We know that no one wants to live in the fear of being raided because their software is not licensed, yet they are concerned about the costs. On the other hand, many people do not really know where and how to start, which is why we launched this campaign,” he added.

Redha urges companies to come forward, call the BSA’s hotline number, and allow the organisation’s experts to help them legalise their software and give them advice on the same. After the campaign, the BSA will resume investigations and take legal action against those companies that have failed to comply with the software copyright laws implemented in the country.

Offenders will face a 6-month jail term or an AED 50,000 fine or both. The campaign, which is currently being held in Kuwait and Dubai will, however continue to investigate the illegal practices of resellers involved in software piracy. El-Redha mentioned that the current rate of piracy in the UAE was 44%, while in Oman and Lebanon, it was 80%. “But we foresee a big drop in piracy after the campaign,” said Redha.

“Legal software is an essential part of a growing IT industry and the national economy as a whole: the law on copyright was passed in support of the government’s vision for that growth, and it is every company’s duty to uphold the law,” commented Redha.

Companies interested in legalising their software have been advised to call the BSA’s hotline (Kuwait – 2438033, UAE- 800 4828, Cairo- 33 99 382, Saudi Arabia-800 124 8999, other countries- {9714} 332 2307) and seek the expertise of the organisation's consultants.

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