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MidEast to be 70 percent piracy-free

DUBAI, Agencies

The Middle East is closing in on a target of being 70 percent software piracy-free in the next five years, an industry watchdog said Sunday in a statement to mark World Intellectual Property Rights Day. But the Business Software Alliance (BSA) called for more concerted efforts from businesses and government to combat the regional plague.

"The efforts of BSA and government authorities in the region have had a remarkable impact on software piracy in the last decade," said BSA Middle East co-chairman Jawad Al Redha. "Ten years ago, software piracy stood at over 95 percent in the Middle East; today, it has dropped to less than 50 percent.

"This is reflected in the higher ratio of branded PCs in the market, compared to assembled PCs. Ten years ago, branded PCs comprised just 30 per cent of the market share, while today they are 55 percent. The share of assembled PCs had plummeted to 45 percent, against 70 percent a decade ago. As branded PCs use original software, this indicates that the use of original software had increased significantly," said Al Redha.

BSA, which represents top software and e-commerce developers in 65 countries, voiced hope of "attaining its goal of making the Middle East 70 percent piracy-free in another five years."

"It is a realistic goal and we are confident of achieving it with the help of government authorities, the IT trade and consumers," Al Redha said.

But he called for the anti-piracy drive to be accelerated and predicted greater economic prosperity with the complete elimination of piracy.

"Several governments have realized that by protecting IPR laws, they are strengthening the national economy and sending the right signals to the global IT community to increase investment in the region."

First published April 26, 2004

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