The Arab World’s status in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation and enforcement was the topic of a heated discussion during the recent 4th annual IPR Forum in Morocco, with the best practices, latest trends and future strategies of IPR and software piracy prevention debated by senior industry representatives. The Two-day Forum also discussed the progress being made by the Arab World in terms of IPR protection and called for stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors in anti-piracy and counterfeiting efforts. “Governments, authorities, and individuals throughout the Middle East have been aggressively rallying to curb IPR fraud and software piracy in their respective jurisdictions, as IPR protection plays a major role in stimulating further economic development in this region. We are honoured to have the support of high-profile government representatives and authorities at our Forum to complement ongoing initiatives that enlighten the public and organizations about this important cause,” said Jawad Al Redha, Co-Chairman of Business Software Alliance, the international association established by the software industry to promote a safe and legal digital world, and organisers of the Forum. The Forum was held only weeks after the UAE Ministry of Economy called for raised awareness about IPR and associated laws in building the UAE’s new economy, highlighting the detrimental effects of counterfeiting and piracy on the economy and society. The Ministry urged the private sector, governments and the public to work together and develop closer cooperation to promote and uphold IPR protection initiatives. “The gains we have made in fighting piracy can only be sustained through the highly committed and combined efforts of governments, corporate and individual users. I believe that awareness on the negative effects of software piracy, in terms of financial losses, data corruption and systems damage, should be motivation for more people to take stronger courses of action against IPR violators,” noted Alastair de Wet, BSA South Africa Chairman. A recent BSA study has shown that concerted anti-piracy efforts in the Middle East and Africa have been particularly effective in controlling software piracy rates, which dropped in 19 of 26 countries. The support of particular governments, such as Morocco, has been determined as a key factor for this positive development, as a direct result of its strong IPR legislation. Worldwide, global software piracy still remains a problem, with a 35 per cent piracy rate in 2006 for the third straight year to create losses tallying AED 18.36 billion.