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BSA battles Pakistan piracy

Today marks the start of a month-long software amnesty in Pakistan, aimed at encouraging businesses running pirated or unlicensed software to upgrade to properly licensed versions.

Today marks the start of a month-long software amnesty in Pakistan, aimed at encouraging businesses running pirated or unlicensed software to upgrade to properly licensed versions.

From April 20 to May 20, users will be able to upgrade their software to licensed versions without facing penalties for their past infringements of copyright law.

The grace period, announced by the Business Software Alliance, an organisation which includes many of the world’s biggest IT brands, is the latest attempt to tackle the use of illegal software in Pakistan.

“We are focusing on Pakistan in particular because the piracy rate is quite huge,” said Farhan Jundjo, manager of the campaign for the BSA in Pakistan.

“It became quite obvious that people need to be educated about illegal software. Here in Pakistan, people don’t even think it’s a bad thing to do.”

The campaign, which is aimed at businesses, is accompanied by seminars and radio show discussions to educate people about the effects of piracy.

A report by the BSA in 2005 found that 82% of software in Pakistan was pirated, making it the 12th worst offender in the world and costing the economy around US$26m.

The campaign is a first for the BSA, which says it has no firm plans to extend the experiment to other parts of the Middle East.

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