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Sony urges clampdown on IP infringement

Consumers, retailers and governments would all benefit, says the president of Sony's European PS2 operations.

Chris Deering, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), is the latest high level executive to call for a clampdown on intellectual copyright infringement in the region. Deering, who is responsible for Sony's PS2 video games business, said that consumers, retailers and goverments would all benefit.

"There is a serious gaming audience in this region that deserves to be well served, but a company like Sony has to see a return on its investment," Deering told Arabian Business. "The UAE has done very well on the piracy front, but we need to see more progress, particularly in Saudi Arabia."

Deering said Sony will spend far more on marketing and promoting the PS2 in the region if its sees progress on the piracy front. Consumers, for example, would see lower prices on legitimate products, more games in the Arabic and Hindi languages and more events like the impressive Playstation Experience, the 'show within a show' at last month's Computer Shopper.

Retailers could look forward to higher sales of legitimate games and governments, Deering argues, would make more in duty revenues. Policies on piracy, he adds, also have a considerable impact on the attitude of overseas investors towards a country.

Deering's visit to the Middle East included a meeting with software distributors and local lawyers where the issue of piracy was discussed. In order to combat piracy, he said governments need to formulate clear laws with stiff penalties and then apply those laws.

"Not only do penalties need to be there, but they have to be enforced," argues Deering. "Right now, you can be closed down for piracy, pay a $1000 fine and be open again in a week or two.'

There is a certainly a large market waiting to be tapped. Sony says that it has now sold two million units of the older PS One and one million units of the newer Playstation 2 consoles in the Middle East.

Sony isn't the only one calling for further action on piracy. A delegation representing 1,500 international record producers met UAE Ministry of Information officials in October. They discussed the need for strong measures to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) in the music industry in the Middle East.

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