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Kuwait steps up software piracy crackdown

Authorities raid two shops in Hawalli, seize large quantity of counterfeit programs.

Two shops in Kuwait have been raided and a large quantity of pirated computer programs seized in the latest crackdown on the sale of counterfeit software in the Gulf state, it was announced on Sunday.

The raids on traders in the Hawalli governorate, conducted by Microsoft and the Kuwait Ministry of Commerce and Industry, resulted in the seizure of one computer in each shop loaded with pirated and unlicensed Microsoft programs.

The crackdown follows the announcement last month of a major anti-piracy campaign in Kuwait aimed at tackling the country's high software piracy rate.

Kuwait has the worst rate of piracy in the GCC at 62 percent, according to the most recent Global Software Piracy Study by anti-piracy group the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and technology consultancy IDC.

According to IDC figures, a 10 percent drop in Kuwait's piracy rates would give a $350 million boost to the local economy through taxes and improved revenues in the local IT industry.

Governments across the Gulf have been increasing their efforts to reduce the rate of software piracy, which stands at over 50 percent in five of the six Gulf states.