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Nigeria and piracy of Softwares

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in conjunction with , Microsoft Nigeria have raided the premises of a leading computer reseller at the Computer Village Ikeja  recovered multiple copies of alleged counterfeit software including copies of Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office Professional 2007

But the managing director of the affected firm, when confronted by CyberLIFE Monday in his Computer Village office regarding the issue angrily said: “The issue has been sorted out with Microsoft. I have called the Country Manager of Microsoft. I have called Technology Distribution on the issue,”

Meanwhile, investigations by the NCC, according to the statement identified an operator (names withheld) as the real culprit. According to the statement, the said operator was already known to the NCC as a suspected software pirate and had previously evaded arrest during another raid by the NCC.

The counterfeit software in question according to the report was being offered to customers at almost the same price as genuine Microsoft software, a strategy that can trick customers into believing the product is genuine.

With this, it was gathered that the customer had contacted Microsoft who then brought the issue to the attention of the NCC who did a thorough investigation after which the decision to raid the premises of the affected firm was taken.

“We take our responsibility to protect our customers and partners in Nigeria very seriously.

When a customer comes to Microsoft and asks for our help because they’ve been duped by a dishonest supplier, we make every effort to ensure that they receive the support they require by following up with local law enforcement authorities like the NCC.” Uzo Okpaka, Channel Compliance Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, said.

The NCC raid, with the support of Microsoft, according to Abel Odje, Managing Director, Ruthabel ICT, has helped level the playing field for honest businesses like mine.

” “I don’t want to lose money to unscrupulous resellers who exploit customers’ good faith with fake software.”, he added.

While warning on the economic implications of pirated software products, Dale Waterman, Microsoft’s corporate attorney for Anti-Piracy in the Middle East and Africa noted that “We are aware that these high quality counterfeit software is being produced by very sophisticated organized crime syndicates in China.

“International police organisations such as Interpol have even suggested there is a link between intellectual property crime and terrorist financing.”

With the increasing sophistication of software pirates and cyber criminals, Microsoft, he said warns Nigerian consumers to avoid the threats to their online identity, as well as their wallets, by insisting on genuine technology from their local retailers.

Meanwhile, in a country where the Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimate the PC software piracy rate is 83%, Microsoft works closely with the Nigerian authorities to help build cases against counterfeiters that put consumers and businesses in Nigeria at risk.

Frequently, counterfeit software is vulnerable to computer viruses, malware and hackers, leaving consumers unprotected against data loss or identity theft. Meanwhile, local businesses have difficulty competing with pirated software that has been priced at below-market levels and are forced to cut jobs.