Piracy-free software in Middle East market

Agence France Presse

Dubai, April 26:

The Middle East is closing in on a target of being 70 per cent software piracy-free in the next five years, an industry watchdog said yesterday 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 per cent in the Middle East; today, it has dropped to less than 50 per cent.

“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 per cent. The share of assembled PCs had plummeted to 45 per cent, against 70 per cent 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 per cent 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 realised 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.” Meanwhile, the growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was emphasised as over 30 experts from around the world addressed the significance of this business practice at the first Middle East CSR meeting in Dubai.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates airline, will demonstrate how companies that embrace CSR can not only contribute to the long-term growth and development of the region, but also realise its positive impact on their own business operations.