FIA confiscates pirated software, computers of pharmaceutical company
As part of a crackdown campaign against corporate users of unlicensed and pirated software, the Federal Investigation Agency
(FIA) has confiscated computers with pirated Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office during a raid at a large scale pharmaceutical company in the twin cities.
FIA took a prompt action on a complaint lodged by the Microsoft Pakistan through its Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) expert and a senior lawyer Mr. Muhammad Majid Bashir, who along with his legal team provided technical support identifying the IPR violation under Section 66 of Chapter XIV of the Copyright Ordinance 1962. The law bars production, sale, copy, purchase or usage of unlicensed software and declares it an offence, punishable and liable to criminal prosecution for violation of law. The company where FIA conducted the raid has been accused of using pirated software instead of buying it under legal license from the Microsoft as the law of the land requires. “Corporate end-user raids such as these will send a strong message to commercial companies that the government is taking strict measures against violators of intellectual property rights. We plan to continue
these raids until we achieve our goal of creating not only awareness of IPRs, but also instilling a culture of respect for those IPRs,” said Inam Ghani, Director FIA. He said FIA has taken the lead in the fight against piracy in the country and they have the unequivocal support from the Government of Pakistan to eradicate the threat and usage of pirated and counterfeit software,” he added.
FIA aims to collaborate closely with the IT sector businesses and media to highlight the current challenges faced in combating the IPR violation in the country and devise and implement strategies through which the IT competitiveness of Pakistan can be improved. Kamal Ahmed, Country Manager Microsoft Pakistan remarked, “Software piracy is a significant threat locally and we as a nation need to take concrete steps to curb it. It is unacceptable when profitable commercial organizations indulge in software piracy with complete disregard to the law, often in a manner which gives them an unfair cost advantage over Pakistan companies with licensed software. Promoting a culture that respects IPR, in software and other industries will promote greater foreign investment in our economy and also provide an incentive to local entrepreneurs to explore new ideas.”
A study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a leading global organisation (May 2010), says the rate of software piracy in Pakistan remained 84% during the past years and the country stands among those countries having the highest piracy rates in the world. This has adversely affected the competitive image of the country among IT investors. According to a survey by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), conducted for BSA, the country’s IT competitiveness ranking has declined to 62nd in the world, which is behind other regional countries like India and Sri Lanka. Most importantly, the unchecked trade of pirated software in the country is exposing unsuspecting software users to the hazards of malware, viruses and other online scams.