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Kuwaiti businesses call for copyright enforcement

Leading Kuwaiti entrepreneurs have called on the government to step up copyright enforcement action.

Leading Kuwaiti entrepreneurs have called on the government to step up copyright enforcement action.

In a meeting held at the offices of Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO), representatives of the media industry, the software development industry and the home video industry gathered to discuss the current status of the market and look at ways to reduce intellectual property theft.

Although they acknowledged the initial steps that have been taken by the government to reduce piracy, they highlighted the need for further action to make a significant impact in the market, and agreed to collaborate in a bid to ask authorities to step up their enforcement activity. The piracy of films, books and business software alone are estimated to have cost the Kuwaiti economy millions in lost revenues last year.

KIPCO, which owns the Showtime satellite TV network, has identified piracy as a major deterrent for investment in the region, and a limiting factor for the economic development of Kuwait.
“The Kuwaiti government has taken many steps to address this problem,” commented Ahmad Al Ajeel, vice president, Marketing at KIPCO. “Through the ratifying of international agreements and setting up task forces between the different authorities, the government has laid down the framework for real action against piracy.

“Yet, we are far from reaching international levels of copyright protection, and a lot more enforcement is needed to fight piracy efficiently. This means that the business community will remain hesitant about investing in many domains. We call on the government to prioritize this issue. Kuwait benefits from a young and educated population that has continued to prove its creativity, but it does need support from its government to grow and thrive”.

Although software piracy has dropped in recent years, it currently still stands at 76% in Kuwait. “The development and survival of a viable software industry is difficult in Kuwait at this point,” said Tarek Al Marzouk, general manager, Al Marzouk Software.

“For example, our company has developed many products over the years, which were all pirated. Had our intellectual property been protected, our company would have grown much faster, we would have been able to invest more in research and we might have created hundreds of jobs for young Kuwaitis. As it stands today, software development is not a viable business option, simply because of piracy. There is demand for software products, but how can we sustain our business if our software is sold by the hundreds on counterfeit CDs in the street? We do thank the government for its action against this phenomenon, but a lot more needs to be done”

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