Qatar’s Ministry of Justice and American software giant Microsoft held a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha yesterday, aiming to raise awareness about software piracy.
Microsoft praised Qatar, saying its efforts to eliminate piracy “are quite remarkable” despite a 50% rate of pirated software. That means of course that every second copy of all programs here are illegal, according to the most recent figures from the BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study, at a potential value of $62 million (QR226.3 million).
Still, that’s lower than the Middle East average of 58%, with those figures going up to 86% and 89% in Iraq and Yemen respectively.
In context for the Gulf though, Saudi Arabia sits at a 51% piracy rate, while the UAE is all the way down to 37%. Qatar also falls behind the world average of 42%.
Abdulla Ahmed Qayed, director of Intellectual Property division at the Ministry of Justice, said yesterday that 15 cases were prosecuted here last year for software piracy.
As quoted by the Qatar Tribune, he said:
“Four cases were made against shops selling counterfeit software and seven against shops selling pirated audiovisual materials, including music and movies.”
He also said that in January of this year, his department raided three “end-users” of pirated software, according to the Peninsula.
The newspaper adds that “the act of downloading, producing and distributing pirated software in Qatar can lead to imprisonment of one to two years, with fines ranging from QR30,000 to QR35,000.”
Microsoft’s country manager Naim Yazbeck, meanwhile, noted at the press conference that “there remain substantial goals to be achieved” in Qatar.
In particular, he called for clear and consistent legislation, greater law enforcement, increased public awareness about the potential pitfalls of pirated software (embed malware, viruses etc.) and increase international coordination.
Credit: Photo by Omar Chatriwala