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BSA warns about criminal liability from software piracy

Anuradha Shukla | Aug. 12, 2010
Introduces new intellectual property rights campaign

SHENZHEN, CHINA, 12 AUGUST 2010- The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has highlighted that it is not enough for management to just say they weren't aware their employees were using unlicensed computer software.

In a new intellectual property rights protection campaign, BSA has emphasised that all company directors, partners and persons responsible for the internal management of a business can face fines of up to US$6,438.57 per infringing copy and up to four years in prison.

Improvement in piracy rate

All is not gloomy as the findings of the Seventh Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study showed Hong Kong's PC software piracy rate dropping from 48 per cent in 2008 to 47 per cent in 2009. Also, the commercial value of illegal software currently in use also decreased, from US$225 million in 2008 to US$218 million in 2009.

BSA believes the improvement in the piracy rate indicates the success of efforts of local businesses and government agencies. The combination of consumer education, strong intellectual property legislation, effective law enforcement, and legalisation programmes has seemed to have worked.

The alliance's new intellectual property rights (IPR) campaign includes education programmes and aims to remind directors and senior management about the consequences of the use of pirated software.

Competitive differentiator

Roland Chan, the BSA's senior marketing director for the Asia Pacific, noted that this campaign aims to continue educating local businesses on their responsibility regarding legal software.

A variety of elements featured in the campaign are expected to help the cause: a youth ambassador programme, participation at major computer expos, new TV commercials and other educational activities.

The BSA will also continue the Genuine Prestige' campaign to help organisations in Hong Kong leverage the use of genuine software as a competitive differentiator, added Chan.

Protection of intellectual property rights is of great importance to Hong Kong. Our surveys have shown that more Hong Kong companies have been taking measures to prohibit their staff from installing or using pirated computer software. We will continue to provide our full support to anti-piracy initiatives, said Stephen Selby, director of intellectual property, Hong Kong government. We are confident the BSA's new campaign can further raise the awareness of the business community about the risks relating to using infringing software, as well as the benefits of using legal software.


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