Doha, Asharq Al-Awsat- Authorities in Qatar have sent out a strong message to violators of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) by announcing that they would take tough stands against people trading and using pirated programs and CDs. Qatar police in coordination with the Ministry of Economy and Trade, raided two companies in Qatar during the end of March 2006, for trading illegally in pirated software programs.
In the raid, the Qatar authorities confiscated 2 hard disks loaded with illegal versions of Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office, Symantec, Adobe, Autocard, Norton, in addition to 260 CDs of pirated software.
Abdulla Qayed, Head of Copy Right Office –Commerce Dept. Ministry of Finance, Economy & Commerce of Qatar, said, “Software piracy has been creating negative influences on the companies and businesses operating in Qatar. The ministry will step up its efforts in fighting software piracy thereby providing a healthy and safe environment for secure domestic and foreign investments. Through unified planning, we will strengthen our efforts in developing the IT sector in Qatar and promote our country as the leading and genuine supplier of IT requirements to the Middle East.”
Studies confirm that protection of IPR leads to economic development, social progress, scientific and technological innovation, and cultural prosperity in a country. While reinforcing credibility, it provides a healthy environment for companies to develop and operate their business in the region.
Qatar has always adopted a responsible attitude to actively promote a safe and legal digital world. This is evident from the fact that the country issued a law for the ‘Protection of Copyright’ in 1995, insisting on the sale and use of legal software that is central for its economic development. This law is being strictly implemented to reduce copyright infringement.
Scott Butler, CEO of Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA) said, “The recent raids are part of our continuous efforts against traders and users of unauthorized computer software. The Ministry of Economy and Trade, in coordination with other related authorities have stepped up their efforts to eliminate illegal activities completely. They have adopted tough procedures for enforcing IPR laws, prosecuting everyone involved to the full extent.”
“IPR laws are considered vital in supporting a healthy economic development and overall social progress of a region. It opens up a strong environment for foreign investments, thus enabling a country to share with the world, the benefits brought about by the progress of science and technology. Countries committed to protecting IPR laws, can benefit through boosting their credibility on an international level, increasing job vacancies, attracting foreign investments, enhancing the growth rate, besides increasing developments in the local IT sector,” added Butler.