Breaking News
8 Jan 2014

1% use of genuine software can contribute $73b to global economy

Although the fight against software piracy has not yielded the expected result  by different economies, latest finding  by the  Business Software Alliance, BSA, has revealed that  increasing the use of genuine software by 1% contributes $73 billion to the global economy as opposed to $20 billion  from pirated software, a whopping gap of $53 billion.
This is even as the  Head, Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa,  Ijeoma Abazie who spoke at  the recent anti-counterfeiting collaboration of Nigeria (ACC) 5th roundtable held in Lagos recently  highlighted the benefits of curbing software piracy to include increased jobs, tax revenues and safety noting that these are more impact on the economy as opposed to the endorsement of software piracy which essentially funds terrorism globally, undermines online stability and security.
Accordingly, the  ACC’s 5th roundtable was organised by Microsoft  in conjunction with the International Trademarks Association (INTA) .
The ACC is the umbrella body for intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legalization and related issues in Nigeria with membership spanning across all sectors including the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association of Nigeria (IPLAN).
What global consumers spend:
To recapitulate the time and resources that are wasted on  cybercrime, Abazie quoted IDC statistics, as saying that ,  “Globally consumers will spend 1.5 billion hours and $22 billion identifying and recovering from the impact of malware and global enterprises will spend $114 billion to deal with the impact of malware-induced cyber-attacks”.
Discussions during the session centred on piracy/counterfeiting as a major concern which cuts across varied goods, products and industries ranging from entertainment, IP/software, textiles, dairy, pharmaceuticals among others.
Transnational lack of borders of the internet:
The discussants noted that transnational lack of borders of the internet makes the unlawful copying and distribution of pirated products, services and designs at a global scale very easy but its enforcement difficult given the difficulty of ascertaining where the infringement took place whether on the infringer’s computer, the server and in which country.
Abazie, at the roundtable to review the IPR Bill addressed software piracy, its various forms, how it undermines the industry’s ability to innovate, limits economic growth in economies around the world and puts consumers’ data and security at risk as well as the use of anti-piracy technology to checkmate it.
Need to draft and enact an IP Bill for Nigeria : Panelists at the session to discuss the Industrial Property Commission of Nigeria (IPCOM) Bill agreed that there was  urgent need to draft and enact an IP Bill for Nigeria  to aligned with international best practice and technological developments.
Lending the voice of the Devices and Software Company for reforms in Nigeria and the West African Sub-region, Abazie recommended the enhancement of enforcement using dedicated specialized IP enforcement, investigating and prosecuting resources and cross border cooperation among Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) across West Africa.
She reiterated the need for increased Public Education and Awareness to change the current apathetic public attitudes toward software and IP, leader-led  model by Government through the promotion and use of legal software in state-owned enterprises and among all its contractors and suppliers as a precondition for contracting with it and also through implementing software asset management (SAM) programs.
Mulch-stakeholder strategy needed:
For Abazie, mulch-stakeholder strategy involving private and public sector collaboration on effective enforcement by LEAs; Industry-led initiatives to promote SAM in the public and private sectors; Increased support from the Nigerian Customs Service and strengthened cross border customs collaboration to checkmate the importation and distribution of pirated/counterfeit software; modernization of IP Laws to provide for the protection and enforcement of infringement of new software innovations, such as cloud computing technologies, online piracy and the proliferation of networked mobile devices; Fast tracking the enactment of an all-encompassing IP Bill aligned with international developments and Fast tracking the passage of the Cyber Security Bill and other related BillS as bail out option.
Earlier in her opening address, Lara Kayode, Partner O. Kayode & Co and who represented INTA, stressed the need for public awareness, strong enforcement of and a strong IP legal framework that adequately compensate and protect rights holders whose IP has been infringed as piracy and counterfeiting rob government globally of revenue that can be used to develop economies.


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