Omani businesses raided for use of pirated software
The Omani ministry of national heritage and culture has conducted a second set of raids on corporations suspected of using pirated software in Muscat. According to the software industry’s anti-piracy watchdog, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the company owners could face the full force of the law in Oman, which includes seizures of computers, prison sentence for employees, penalties, as well as closure of premises.
The raids are a clear indication that the Omani authorities are resolute in their program of cracking down on the use of illegal software, and will take strong actions to reduce the use of pirated software in Oman.
Oman’s MNHC representatives found illegal software loaded on 15 desktop computers (PCs) at the corporation’s premises. The illegal software found during the raid in the PCs was Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows Office 97, Adobe 5.0, Corel Draw 9.0, Autodesk AutoCad 12, AutoCad 14 and AutoCad 2000.
This recent raid follows a long campaign earlier in the year to restrain the use of illegal pirated software, during which there were many of warnings from both the Ministry and the BSA. Under Oman’s Copyright Laws, the company faces penalties that can include a fine of 2,000 Omani rials, seizure of computers and closure of premises. The officials of the company could even be sent to jail for illegal computer software copying.
“We applaud the tremendous progress made by Oman to bring down illegal use of computer software. The government of Oman is implementing IT applications and introducing Internet into all government and is implementing large-scale programs to foster the growth of a ‘digital economy’ in Oman. These recent actions by the ministry send a clear signal to Omani businesses that the Sultanate is serious about protecting the growth of a local technology industry by enforcing its copyright laws. Companies are urged to take immediate steps to ensure the legality of their software, to prevent considerable embarrassment and possible prosecution. It is not worth risking the reputation of a company, which is worth so much more than the cost of the software that is being used illegally,” said Ashok Sharma, Middle East director for the Business Software Alliance.
Software experts point out that there are many business risks associated with using pirated software. “Dealers marketing sophisticated software packages invest time and money in developing the specialized skills to support customers. Companies that pirate the software have no access to this top level of support, and may end up losing more from lost productivity because of errors or incorrectly installed software than they save by pirating it. The dealers lose out on the opportunity to build a sustainable and professional IT service, to the long term detriment of all of Oman’s business community,” said Ahmad Al-Jassim, country sales manager of Autodesk Middle East.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the voice of the world's leading software developers before governments and with consumers in the international marketplace. Its members represent the fastest growing industry in the world. BSA educates computer users on software copyrights; advocates public policy that fosters innovation and expands trade opportunities; and fights software piracy. BSA worldwide members include Adobe, Apple Computer, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Corel Corporation, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symantec. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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