Ramadan 'truce' in war against software theft
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has announced that it will declare a 'truce' in its activities against software theft in companies in Kuwait throughout the month of Ramadan. As a result, BSA will initiate no action on its own against illegal software usage until December 31st 2000. The truce became effective Wednesday.
"The BSA has been very active in Kuwait, and the strong support of the Kuwaiti authorities has meant that a number criminal cases have been filed against companies copying and selling software illegally" said BSA regional director, Ashok Sharma. "We believe that it is now appropriate to give computer users time to consider their position on this important law, and also to expedite their plans for legalizing their software."
"Computer companies are urged to join this truce period by providing legal software. BSA will continue to monitor computer companies even during the truce period - to ensure that any sale of illegal software is promptly reported to the authorities for swift action" he added.
During Ramadan, the BSA will instead devote itself to campaigns to highlight awareness of the issues involved in software theft, and on helping people to understand the implications of Kuwait's Copyright laws and how they apply to each company’s use of software. "We will be running awareness campaigns that show people how to recognize even un-intentional breaches of the law, and that help them to work out how best to become legal quickly and removing any financial hurdles," said Sharma.
"Software is a resource that helps companies to operate more effectively, and is a legitimate business expense and investment. With broad recognition of this important fact, and with the laws in place, there is a very real opportunity for accelerated growth in Kuwait's information technology sector. We are totally committed to that opportunity."
The enforcement of Kuwait's laws on intellectual property has already led to companies copying, selling and even using illegal software facing Ministry of Information raids, followed by legal action in Kuwait’s criminal courts. A ground breaking law enforcement action, brought recently against a Kuwaiti consultancy company, has also made it clear to companies that using copied software also renders them liable to action and possible prosecution. "The law is clear, and the law is being applied. Companies can no longer afford to support software theft. We see enforcement and legal action as an unwelcome last resort and we would much rather companies abide by the law without the necessity for these actions. This truce is a clear window of opportunity for companies to legalize all software in use," said Sharma.
In most cases, companies can easily avoid knowingly purchasing and installing pirated software. Commercial software packages loaded free of charge onto PCs or CD-ROMs should be viewed with suspicion: as should software that is sold at an unusually low price. Basically, any software sold without an accompanying license is illegal. This obviously includes software sold without a supporting end-user license agreement. Apart from being illegal, these illicit products may contain
viruses, and will not be supported by the manufacturer.
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, Corel Corporation, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symantec. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)