Five held in crackdown on software piracy
KARACHI – Police raided four shops and rounded up five persons involved in copying illegal software on hard disks of new computers as a part of crackdown against pirates. Criminal cases have been registered against them and all the processors, monitors, keyboards, and the police confiscated CDs under the country’s copyright laws. Each of these companies was warned earlier to refrain from such activities.
The licensed software distributors have appreciated the government’s move to promote IT development in the country by discouraging software piracy.
Mr Muhammad Rehan Farooqi, Chief Operating Officer of Sysnet said, “While the legal software culture helps in plugging the continuous brain drain, besides earning the much needed foreign exchange through its export.” He further stressed that Licensed software also provides the consumer many benefits, including technical support, product information, upgrades and protection against viruses.
The violation of piracy laws has been discouraging the bi2 international software companies to invest in Pakistan, and denied country’s access to state of-the-art technology, he said. “Over the last few years, all the software investment has gone to the countries where the anti-piracy laws are stronger,” he said adding “Most of the western countries and many developing countries developed their software industry by enforcing strict anti-piracy laws to protect the intellectual property rights of their software producers.”
Under the Pakistani Copyright Law, individuals or business companies found liable for software piracy can face fines up to Rs. 200,000 and up to three years imprisonment, said a BSA spokesman.
The BSA has asked all companies buying new PCs to insist on getting documentary proof of legality of the software installed on the hard disks ‘or they may face uncalled for risks.”
The spokesman again warned all computer shops to provide only legal software with new PCs saying: ‘These raids will continue in all the major cities till the market is cleaned up of pirated software business. The BSA spokesman applauded Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf’s decision to improve laws relating to intellectual property rights copyrights and trade marks, besides development of information technology and software industry in the country.
The Chairman, Pakistan Council of Information Technology Professionals, Syed Asim Zafar also hoped that increased incentives for software industry would enhance country’s exports, besides overcoming the brain-drain problem, by retaining talented IT professionals within Pakistan.
A recent BSA study noted 86 per cent piracy rate in Pakistan with revenue losses to the country amounting to billions of rupees. The local software developers are hit by piracy as their moderately priced software find no buyers in the country, because, the relatively ex pensive foreign pirated software is available at no cost to the buyers. This is killing the Pakistani software industry in its infancy, he added.
BSA has installed a Help line in Karachi (0800-01234) to provide information on advantages of legal and licensed software.
In addition to the raids on new computer sellers in Karachi, more than 30 other raids have already been conducted in Peshawar, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Quetta over the past 12 months to check the sale of illegal compact disks (CDs). In all the cases, computer shop personnel selling pirated software were arrested, the BSA spokesman said.
Source: The Nation