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Financial loss from piracy jumps 48% across GCC

Region lost $590m to software priacy in 2008, only UAE rates as low-piracy country.

Gulf states lost $590m to software piracy last year making a 48 percent increase on the previous year, according to a piracy study reported on Wednesday.

The increase in the region was matched by a global rise in losses of 11 percent to $53bn – breaking the $50bn level for the first time.

Overall illegally-copied programmes represented 41 percent of all software sales, three percentage points more than in 2007, the study said according to a report in the daily Gulf News.

Global piracy had increased as a direct result of unprecedented growth in the IT industry in parts of the world where there were no committed efforts to control piracy, said Jawad Al Redha, BSA co-chairman and IPR manager in the Gulf region.

The spread of the internet and access to high-speed broadband had contributed to the problem pirated software has moved from the streets to the internet, he said.

Within the GCC only the UAE is ranked as a low-piracy country by the BSA-IDC – making it to the 21st spot last year – down from 20th place in 2007.

The move saw the Emirates anti-piracy rating jump from 35 to 36 percent, but the UAE's losses jumped by 81 percent between 2007 and 2008.

Saudi Arbaia also saw a rise in losses of $170m in 2008, up from 60 percent the year before, while Qatar saw a four percent hike in losses that amounted to $26m.
Only Bahrain of all the six GCC countries registered the same loss as in 2007 of $27m.

"The government of Bahrain implemented strict policies against trading in pirated software and conducted a number of raids in key areas.

"During the year it also supported BSA and local groups with educational road shows and other market outreach. Given that Bahrain hopes to become a regional hub for the IT industry, these actions will likely increase in future years," the report said.

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