Jordanian courts crack down on software piracy
Ruling on its first copyright infringement case, the Jordanian Court of First Instance this week sentenced the head of a software company to three months in jail. The owner of the firm, whose name is withheld, was charged with possession of illegal software and selling pirated copies to consumers, said Bassam Talhouni of the Business Software Alliance.
Talhouni, an attorney who is also president of the National Center for Intellectual Property, said the company's owner had violated Article 51 of the Copyright's Law which bans illegal copying and selling of pirated software. “The value of the pirated software was estimated at not less than JD 27,000,” he told the Jordan Times.
Such infringements are punishable by law. The penalty includes either a jail sentence of between 3 months to 3 years or a fine of more than JD 3,000, or both. Pirated software and equipment used to make the illegal copies are also confiscated by the authorities and the business is subject to closure.
Talhouni said that over the past year, no less than 45 court cases against alleged violators went before the courts. Cases including counterfeiting, software piracy and copyright infringements have set the agenda. In the past, many software, audiovisual and pharmaceutical concerns whose businesses thrived on piracy, had little enthusiasm for enforcing copyright legislation.
They argued the application of the law, without a grace period caused their extensive business losses. But the move was deemed necessary for Jordan's entry into the World Trade Organization, which required the Kingdom to amend and enforce Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation. The Free Trade Agreement with the US also requires a higher ceiling of IPR enforcement.
Early this year, the US removed Jordan from a special 301-watch list after its amendments to the IPR law. The arrival of the software giant Microsoft earlier this month was in direct reaction to the new enforcement climate, officials explained at a recent press conference. — ( Jordan Times )
By Suha Ma'ayeh
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)