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UAE MOE launches new software piracy campaign

Campaign will focus on awareness, penalties for companies using or selling pirated software

UAE MOE launches new software piracy campaign
The MOE anti software piracy campaign will run through April.

The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) has announced a new awareness campaign targeting software piracy.

The business-focused campaign, which will run during April, will aim to drive awareness around intellectual property rights and the legal implications for vendors of pirate software.

The campaign is being support by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Adobe, who support advertising campaigns promoting the UAE's zero tolerance approach to software piracy.

Part of the campaign will focus on smaller channel retailers and vendors that might be dealing in pirated software through means such as copying software, pre-loading pirated software on PCs, or abuse of serial numbers for software activation.

The UAE has the lowest rate of software piracy in the Middle East, but the government still intends to push home the anti-piracy message, according to Abdullah Al Hussain, Director of the Censorship Department, UAE Ministry of Economy.

"We want to send out a clear and urgent message about the negative impact of piracy on the social and economic development of our country, by highlighting the effects of piracy on the business landscape, on job security and also the moral implications of this criminal activity. The UAE has been highly successful in its efforts to protect intellectual property rights, maintaining the lowest software piracy rate among Arab countries at 36%, according to a report by the International Data Corporation," he said.

Jawad Al Redha, BSA Chair, Gulf Region, commented: "The BSA is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Economy and Adobe to launch this campaign. The success of this initiative depends largely on the active participation of all members of the society. It is therefore our strategy to educate the public about the immediate and long-term benefits of maintaining a piracy-free society, which will encourage our target audiences to become more involved in efforts to address the threat of piracy on the social and economic stability of the UAE."

Highlighting the economic effects of software piracy, Naser Samaenah, regional license compliance manager ME & North Africa, Adobe Systems MENA, said that a study by IDC showed that by reducing the piracy rate by 10%, the UAE would stand to gain $425m in new economic activity, 841 jobs in the IT sector and $17m in additional tax revenue over the course of four years.

"Piracy has serious implications for the UAE as it inhibits business growth and diminishes the competitiveness of the national economy. Businesses such as Adobe consider the UAE a key growth destination mainly because of the low level of piracy in the country. It is therefore in the best interest of the UAE to remain vigilant in the fight against piracy to maintain the high level of confidence of business enterprises and investors in the country," Samaenah said.

Adobe is collaborating with government entities across the region to drive awareness of the problems of software piracy, Samaenah said, and the company is also keen to help customers to deploy software asset management tools to gain a proper understanding of what licences they need, and what software is actually being used within organisations.

"Our main concern now is to educate our customers about the value of using software asset management, and how they can use those tools to identify the software being used within the organization, missing licences they may need to purchase, any software that might have been installed illegally, and how to control software installation on the network in general. In surveys we have done, almost two thirds of companies lack software asset management tools that control software within their organizations," Samaenah added.

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