x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Campaign targets software piracy

The Ministry of the Economy has launched a campaign to curb software piracy.

ABU DHABI // The Ministry of the Economy has launched a campaign to curb software piracy. The campaign will last until April 26 and is part of a GCC-wide effort. In addition to publicising the law governing intellectual property, the campaign will focus on the consequences of piracy on investment, employment and the economy at large, the state news agency, WAM, reported.

Mohammed bin Abdulaziz al Shihhi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Economy, said the UAE was committed to protecting intellectual property rights. Because of tough laws, he said, the country had lowest rate of piracy in the Middle East. "The Ministry of Economy seeks to promote a culture of innovation, research and development in order to strengthen the implementation of intellectual property rules in the country," he said.

"The ministry will strive to free the local market from piracy, which would be in the best interests of the national economy and the UAE's competitive business environment." Mr Shihhi criticised what he said was a lack of public information about the risks that piracy poses to the economy. "Software piracy remains a serious problem because the majority of the general public and businesses are not well informed about the negative impact of piracy on the country," he said.

The campaign will be used to "develop a more unified approach to reducing piracy and protecting the growing national IT sector". Meanwhile, Jawad al Redha, deputy chairman of the Association of Gulf Commercial Software Producers, called on the Ministry of Economy to introduce tougher laws on copyright violations. The Ministry of Economy, which assumed responsibility for enforcement of copyright, intellectual property protection and antipiracy laws from the Ministry of Information two years ago, has in the past several months signed a string of agreements to beef up enforcement of the laws.

hhassan@thenational.ae