Internet copyright a key challenge for Mideast region

Published October 10th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Bashar Dahabra, CEO of Info2Cell, has publicized a call to Mideast Internet companies to respect the intellectual rights of fellow information providers. “It is vital that we respect the standards expected of a region whose governments have all ratified clear copyright legislation in order to preserve the confidence of global consumers in content that has originated from the Middle East. We have legislation, but we lack compliance!” said Dahabra in a company press release.  


The call mirrors the stance of internationally respected organizations that specialize in copyright, intellectual property and ethical issues, including the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Gulf Center for Excellence in Ethics (GCEE). Both organizations have pinpointed the protection of intellectual property rights as a key factor in the maintenance of consumer confidence in the region’s burgeoning Internet, e-commerce and m-commerce industries. 


“Copyright protection is vital for the successful introduction of new technologies in the Middle East,” explained Ashok Sharma, director of BSA Middle East. “Strong enforcement of copyright laws creates a strong motivator for companies which want to invest in the region,” Sharma added. 


Alex Zalami, managing director of the GCEE, adds further weight to the issue for the 'e-entrepreneurs' of the region. “Only by addressing key ethical issues will the Middle East's new economy entrepreneurs be able to collectively maintain global business partner and customer confidence in enterprises originating from this region. The issue of protection of content is a vital issue for Internet companies, and the theft or misuse of third party content is a major concern for all of us here in the region." 


Info2Cell provides wireless information services for the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. The company is the first WAP information provider in the region, having activated its WAP portal in January 2000, presenting regionally focused content accessible to GSM mobile users.  


The company holds licensing agreements with both local and international information providers that underpin the dependability of all of its 60-plus information channels, including Reuters Factiva, AFP, WAM, Petra and others. 


“Over the past two years, Info2Cell has carefully built a stable of strong global information streams to support the WAP and SMS Mobile information initiatives of the region’s GSM operators. At the end of the day, those operators can be confident that the services we are offering are credible because they are licensed, official and legal,” Dahabra said. — (Albawaba-MEBG)

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