Pirated goods seller to be jailed in Saudi Arabia
This is the first time a prison sentence has been given to someone selling pirated goods
Saudi Arabia's Board of Grievances (BoG) has upheld the recommendation of the Ministry of Information to jail a seller of pirated goods for a period of 10 days.
The landmark conviction has been hailed by the Arabian Anti Piracy Alliance (AAA) as a warning to merchants to strictly comply with KSA's piracy laws, while serving as a deterrent to would-be violators.
"The adjudication of this case is a very important victory for anti-piracy advocates as it is the first-ever court judgement in KSA resulting in imprisonment. The judgement is a strong deterrent to prevent such criminal activities from proliferating in the country, knowing that the Saudi judiciary is prepared to apply the full extent of the law in trying cases related to piracy. Pirate activities have already resulted in huge losses for the Saudi economy, with studies indicating that reduction of piracy rates could have potentially yielded up to USD 1 billion in GDP in the past two years. This clearly represents a huge incentive for the Saudi Government to step up its efforts to break up pirate syndicates. For our part, the AAA along with our strategic partners is certainly eager to provide all necessary support to ensure that anti-piracy laws are strictly enforced in the country," said Scott Butler, AAA chief executive officer.
The convicted pirated goods seller was selling pirated videos and his warehouse and shop had been raided a total of seven times since 2006, resulting in the seizure of over 100,000 counterfeit products, as well as the equipment used to reproduce goods.
The first six offences resulted in escalating fines by the Violation Review Committee and following the seventh raid in 2010, the Minister of Information recommended imprisonment to the Board of Grievances.
Saudi Arabia has recorded the highest piracy rate in the GCC at 60% according to the AAA.
The Piracy Law Fear Factor survey commissioned by AAA and participated by intellectual property rights holders from the Business Software Alliance, electronic games industry, Pay TVs and movie industry, revealed that up to 89% of respondents believe that owners of businesses engaged in piracy will not get imprisoned in KSA, while 67% of respondents believe that imprisonment will help solve the problem of piracy in the country.