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Manama, Jun 14: Bahrain's Ministry of Cabinet Affairs & Information raided three computer companies involved in illegal trading of pirated software recently.

The move is part of an intensified campaign launched by the authorities to enforce the copyright and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) laws in the country. Two computers and 192 CDs loaded with pirated copies of 'Microsoft Office', 'Windows XP', 'Mc Afee Anti Virus' and 'Adobe Photo Shop' were confiscated in the raid.

The Ministry's Publications & Press Department headed by Jamal Dawood strives to combat software piracy through continuous raids and vigilance in order to reduce the negative impact of the illegal trade on companies and businesses operating in the Kingdom.

'The Ministry fully supports the Arabian Anti-Piracy Association (AAA) and the various bodies concerned, in combating software piracy. We regularly receive complaints from companies and individuals who have fallen victim to piracy. We immediately take stringent action against the violators through strict implementation of IPR laws,' Dawood said.

Scott Butler, CEO, AAA said: 'The IT industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain is still suffering from piracy practices despite the Bahrain authorities' many efforts to protect intellectual property rights. We urge the various bodies and parties concerned to step up the anti-piracy drive so as to ensure best results in the long term.'

'The authorities are aware of the harm caused by software piracy to the national economy and the negative impact it has on facilitating investments in the Kingdom's IT sector. Drastic steps are necessary to limit this practice, failing which, the Kingdom may lose the trust of software developers and hinder their investing in the country,' he pointed out.

Butler stressed on the importance of conducting awareness campaigns that will highlight the legal and commercial repercussions of buying and trading in pirated software on various sections of society. 'End-users need to be informed about the benefit of using original software as this ensures high Return on IT Investment for original software can be updated and receives technical support, unlike pirated software,' he added.

'Technological advancements make it easy to copy software and harder to monitor the market. A successful anti-piracy campaign is the result of coordinated effort between government authorities and the affected parties. The Bahrain Ministry of Cabinet Affairs & Information is exerting all efforts to support the cause of IPR by stepping up awareness campaigns, according priority to anti-piracy measures and taking legal action against violators of IPR laws,' Jamal Daoud, Director of Publications and Press, Bahrain Ministry of Information said.

Bahrain's anti-piracy drive comes at a time when GCC governments are stepping up measures to protect their economies by educating people about intellectual property and the importance of combating piracy, especially in IT software. The raid shows the government's seriousness in preventing the use or trade in illegal software and providing a secure IT environment for software developers and investors in the country.


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