70pc concerned about fake software
Dubai, December 14, 2010
By a three-to-one margin, consumers agreed that it is not safe to use counterfeit software as genuine software, citing data loss and ID theft among their main concerns in a recent survey.
Microsoft has released the results of a broad consumer survey, which asked more than 38,000 men and women in 20 countries around the world about their perceptions of counterfeit software.
There was also resounding support for government and industry to take action against counterfeiters.
Each year, Microsoft holds a Consumer Action Day to call attention to the problem of software counterfeiting around the globe.
This year’s events were held across Microsoft subsidiaries to highlight new technologies to stop counterfeiting, educational activities and resources to help consumers protect themselves, and Microsoft’s support of governments as they seek to enforce the laws in their countries.
“Consumers everywhere are coming to us with complaints about counterfeit software,” said Microsoft’s Dale Waterman, Dubai-based corporate attorney for anti-piracy for the Middle East and Africa.
“They’re asking what they can do to protect themselves. They want facts. And they want industry and government to stand up and take action. Our commitment is to do everything we can to help them.”
Seventy per cent of consumers polled worldwide said they believe genuine software is more secure, more stable and is easier to keep up-to-date.
But the presence of high-quality fakes in the market today makes distinguishing counterfeit from genuine a continuing challenge for consumers. The majority of those polled say they would choose genuine software given the choice, but less than half believed consumers in general could spot counterfeit software if they had to.
“There have recently been raids by local authorities on 3 resellers in Dubai who were selling high quality counterfeit Microsoft software,” Waterman said.
“Because the counterfeit is sourced from abroad, particularly China, we have also just participated in the Dubai Custom IPR Workshop, an annual workshop to update the enforcement task force about the latest techniques in combating software counterfeiting and help them tackle transnational organized IP crime.”
Viju Thomas, a Dubai-based consumer this week submitted a copy of this high quality counterfeit software to Microsoft for examination after initially contacting Microsoft through their anti-piracy hotline and being informed that he had unintentionally purchased counterfeit software.
“I purchased a copy of Windows XP from a shop in Dubai for Dh625 ($170). I installed it on my computer and now a message is telling me it is not genuine. It came with a hologram CD, a license and was shrink-wrapped as a complete package that looked just like the real thing. The package is counterfeit. I was deceived by this shop,” Thomas explained.
While consumers are increasingly doing their part by reporting counterfeit software, they are also looking to government and industry to curb the problem.
Sixty-five per cent of respondents called on government to act, and 72 per cent agreed that the software industry itself should be doing more. Seventy-five per cent agree that consumers need ways to protect themselves from inadvertently buying counterfeit software.
“As part of efforts to promote awareness about the intellectual property rights in the UAE, Microsoft has been coordinating with concerned parties to organize various initiatives such as the round table in late November where several judges, public prosecutors, and representatives of other related authorities come together to discuss how to protect IPR taking into account the country-specific cases and the best practices they can follow,” said Dr Mahmoud Mohamed Al Kamali, general manager, UAE Institute of Training and Judicial Studies.
“This also complements efforts to train enforcement teams for federal and local government agencies,” he added.
Jawad Al Redha, chair, Gulf Region, of the international software trade organization Business Software Alliance, said: “The results of this survey show that there is still a real need for the software industry and government to educate consumers about counterfeit software,” said “Consumers don’t want counterfeit software.”
“They know it’s harmful, and in fact, it’s hurting people everywhere. But they need to be made aware about the security and privacy risks they face when they use counterfeit software,” he concluded.
Microsoft recommends that consumers check to see whether their software passes the Windows validation test whenever they purchase online, in stores or software pre-loaded with computers, a statement said. – TradeArabia News Service
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