Microsoft steps up fight against piracy
Microsoft has partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to highlight the benefits of using genuine software and stronger protection on IP innovation.
According to Microsoft, the global arena needs stronger IP protections in place to safeguard the industry’s ability to innovate, level the playing field for small businesses, and help local governments generate tax revenue through the legitimate sale and trade of genuine software.
“In addition to strengthening the economy, sound IP policies can help reduce software piracy and counterfeiting, which we know sap government resources, threaten legitimate businesses and expose consumers to the risks that come from using non-genuine software. Software piracy and counterfeiting tend to thrive in places with weak IP protection, and this has an enormous and negative impact on the global economy,” said Charl Everton, anti-piracy lead, Microsoft SA.
At the recent convention on Reducing Software Piracy organised by the Free Market Foundation (FMF) and the Information Technology Association (ITA), and hosted by Microsoft South Africa, Everton revealed her 5 step roadmap to reducing software piracy and placed collaboration at the heart of what is needed to decrease piracy locally.
“What we need to do in SA is lead by example when using original products and while policies are in place, we need to play a strong role in supporting enforcement bodies to bring the culprits to justice. Cross-border cooperation and the promotion of public and private partnerships will increase capacity and awareness about counterfeit goods and IP rights.”
Microsoft has previously unveiled Operation ThengaEyakho, a pilot campaign jointly led by Microsoft and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Operation ThengaEyakho is focused on IPR and software specific anti-piracy messaging. The campaign is aimed at driving awareness and education amongst universities, high-schools, small businesses, the public and includes law enforcement capacity building.
Mkhuseli Vimba, director of Education and Awareness at the CIPC said, “Operation ThengaEyakho wants to encourage people to buy original, be original. This partnership with Microsoft is a step in the right direction in fighting piracy and helping these groups to better understand their intellectual property rights and those of others.”
The event, which brought together several players in the software industry including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Computer Society South Africa, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Microsoft and others, also stressed a strong correlation between economic growth and the prevalence of piracy.
According to a study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce in 2011, the global economic and social impacts of counterfeiting and piracy will reach US$1.7 trillion by 2015 and put 2.5 million legitimate jobs at risk each year.
Conversely, the economic rewards for countries that strengthen IP protection and reduce piracy are substantial. According to an economic study by the BSA, a reduction in the worldwide piracy rate by 10 percentage points in four years would create $142 billion in new economic activity and add nearly 500 000 new high-tech jobs around the world.