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Qatar goes tough on intellectual property rights violation

RAMY SALAMA

DOHA QATAR is committed to protecting intellectual property rights and bringing violators to justice, a senior official of the Ministry of Justice has said.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Director of Intellectual Property Directorate at the ministry Abdulla Ahmed Qayed said, “Qatar’s government has taken a firm stand against software piracy and violation of intellectual property rights. We consider these acts as part of the greatest challenges facing our local community and the rest of the world.” The press meet was held in collaboration with Microsoft to address software piracy and its social and economic implications.

Qayed said the ministry was keen to raise awareness on the negative effects of piracy and underline the legal implications of intellectual property rights violation.

Software piracy, which is defined as the use of licensed software without a licence, is punishable in Qatar with up to one-year imprisonment.

“Retailers and end-users in Qatar need to realise that high levels of software piracy and counterfeiting activity harm a country’s innovation and ability to produce intellectual property, which eventually reduces overall economic outlook,” Qayed said.

According to him, in 2012, 15 cases were prosecuted against companies and individuals, who violated intellectual property by using software without a license.

“Four cases were made against shops selling counterfeit software and seven against shops selling pirated audiovisual materials, including music and movies, he said.

He added: “We look forward to working with software companies such as Microsoft to promote initiatives to maximise the use of genuine software and further reduce piracy in Qatar, especially at a time when the country is moving into a knowledge-based economy.” In his remarks, Country Manager of Microsoft Qatar Naim Yazbeck said, “The results of the collective intellectual property protection measures in Qatar and efforts to eliminate piracy are quite remarkable.

“Authorities in Qatar have decreased the availability of pirated software.

Yet, there remains a lot to be done. Specific measures need to be in place. These include establishing a clear and consistent legal framework, enforcement of legislation, increasing public education and collaborative efforts at local and international levels.” Head of Anti-Piracy and License Compliance at Microsoft Gulf Savas Yucedag said, “Unauthorised copying, reproduction, transfer and usage of copyrighted software represent great threat to the IT industry, particularly software sector, in the Middle East and Africa region.”

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