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Microsoft Advocates Software Anti-Piracy In West Africa

Microsoft Nigeria has urged West African government, agencies, corporate organisations and other stakeholders to work together to combat piracy and intellectual property pirates.

The appeal came at the heel of a study conducted by market research company, International Data Corporation (IDC) on behalf of the software giant, which revealed that software piracy costs software manufacturers, developers, and retailers loss of financial compensation to the tune of billions of dollars.

According to the IDC 2013 research, a third of all PC software globally have pirated software. It estimated that chances of infection due to unexpected malware were one in three for consumers and three in 10 for businesses,adding that consumers would spend an estimated 1.5 billion hours and $22 billion identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of the malware.

IDC said this would cause global businesses to shell out approximately $144 billion in 2013 while potential losses from data breaches could reach nearly $350 billion this year.

However, while speaking at the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) of Nigeria’s 5th roundtable held in Lagos; Microsoft’s head of corporate affairs at Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Ijeoma Abazie, said the war against piracy would not be successful unless all stakeholders put in place certain measures.

According to her, there is need for increased public education and awareness to change the present apathetic attitude towards software and IP, leader-led model by government through the promotion and use of illegal software in state-owned enterprises and among all its contractors and suppliers as a precondition for contracting with it and also through implementing Software Asset Management (SAM) programs.

Quoting some findings of the Business Software Alliance/INSEAD study, Abazie said that increasing the use of genuine software by 1 percent contributes $73 Billion to the global economy as opposed to $20 Billion from pirated software, a whopping gap of $53 billion.

Combating software piracy would enhance job creation, higher tax revenues and safety,she said.

Abazie however recommended the enhancement of enforcement using dedicated specialised IP enforcement, investigating and prosecuting resources and cross border cooperation among Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) across West Africa.

She also stated that there is need to draft and enact an internet protocol bill for Nigeria to align the country with international best practice and technological developments.

These are more impactful on the economy as opposed to the endorsement of software piracy which essentially funds terrorism globally, undermines online stability and security, she said.

Nigerian Custom Service are also urged to strengthen cross-border custom collaboration to checkmate the importation and distribution of pirated software. Mordernisation of IP laws to provide for the protection and enforcement of infringement of new software innovations such as cloud computing technologies, online piracy and the proliferation of networked mobile devices.

Microsoft is doing a similar job to combat software piracy in Kenya. Recently it signed an amnesty with the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to conduct a joint raid and arrest organisations that are not using genuine software.

According to Microsoft Kenya Country Manager, Kunle Awosika, Microsoft is losing billions to pirated software usage.

“Seventy-eight percent of Kenya is pirated, even if you reduce that to five percent, the impact of the economy will be huge, we are losing billions to this and it must now be addressed,” he said.

The amnesty will run for six weeks until January 15.

Ventures Africa

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