Tech & Communications

Challenging software piracy

by  — 2 January 2013

How much is Qatar losing in opportunity cost due to software piracy?


The lack of adherence to intellectual property (IPR) laws in Qatar’s information Technology sector might be costing the nation a lot of money. The current ICT sector which is valued at US$2.1 billion (QR7.6 billion) according to Commercialbank capital economic research, could be significantly higher. 

At a recent press conference the Ministry of Justice announced that it is stepping up efforts to protect IPR and reduce software piracy in the country. Abdulla Ahmad Qayed, Intellectual Property Centre Director from the Qatar Ministry of Justice said, “Resellers and end-users in Qatar need to realise that high levels of software piracy and counterfeiting activitiy seriously harm a country’s innovation and ability to continuously produce intellectual property, which eventually reduces overall economic activity.”

According to data from the Intellectual Property Protection Centre of the Ministry of Justice, a total of 416 arrests have been made with regards to software piracy between 2000 and 2010. A report by the Business Software Alliance, a leading advocate of anti-software piracy, shows figures have declined marginally from 54 percent in 2007 to 50 percent in 2011.

Adobe Systems, an international software company has been partnering with numerous ministries in the region to strengthen anti-piracy initiatives. Naser Samaenah, head of anti-piracy and license compliance for the MENA region said at the press conference with the Ministry of Justice, “given the impact of software piracy on the economy, there is still much that needs to be done through the combined efforts of the government, software industry, resellers and end users.”

Studies have shown that significant reduction in software piracy can generate millions of Qatari riyals worth of additional revenue for the government, explained Samaenah. And that is to say nothing of the loss in opportunity cost from piracy, in the potential lost jobs to investment opportunites in the IT industry. 

Software companies like Adobe face numerous challenges. The lack of awareness in understanding the negative consequences of software piracy and the widespread social acceptance are some of the biggest they have to counter.

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  • Tom Dibaja

    The argument that software piracy harms a country’s ability to innovate isn’t so clear cut, as China has demonstrated. I would also argue that in those countries where intellectual property is not produced, piracy actually might actually serve to encourage innovation by giving more individuals/companies access to tools to produce better work and innovate - tools that they might otherwise not purchase.

  • Adrian

    Reduce licensing costs and inturn you will increase those who will license their software….

    I think a licensing amnesty should be proposed, all those with pirated licenses, hand in and remove their pirated software, and receive a cheaper license for their use…. Simple and could be very effective if promoted over social and news media! They are stupid for doing it but they look at their operational costs, rent, salaries and ontop of this they need to pay for licensing! Perhaps one can see why they do it, despite the risks. For the software companies, employ door knocking or some other method to promote your legal licenses to companies at discounted rates, however you may do it, the most effective way is to reduce the costs and make an offer they can’t resist!

  • Adrian

    By the way, the problem stems mostly from internet resources, so removing pirated software from the shelf is only part of a larger problem. On the one hand you need to promote and protect the freedoms on the internet, on the other you need to protect your business products from being effectively ripped off….


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