L-R: Michael Ekunke, Copyright Offcer 11, Enforcement, Uwem Udoh, Web Developer, Augustine Amodu, Deputy Director, Enforcement and Tony Ojini, Copyright Officer 11, Enforcement at a press briefing to announce the findings of a software audit carried out on Jide Taiwo & Co Estate.
WorldStage Newsonline-- Officials from the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) have raided the head office of a leading Estate Management Firm, Jide Taiwo & Co in Victoria Island, Lagos and seized what was described as suspected high quality counterfeit Microsoft software.
According to a statement, in the raid which lasted about 45 minutes, different Microsoft softwares which were suspected to be counterfeits were discovered. They included Microsoft Operating Systems Windows XP and Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010.
Jide Taiwo & Co could also not provide the client access license for its Microsoft Windows 2003.
“Some of the suspected physical items taken away from the premises included a media for Microsoft Office 2010, keys for Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Vista and Microsoft Windows 7. All these items have been sent to Microsoft Ireland office for confirmation and an investigation into the matter is currently ongoing,” the statement said.
“Counterfeit software is a cankerworm that is eating through the fabric of societies all over the world. Their prevalence has a lot to do with the sophisticated and organized syndicate of pirates but also can be traced to the demand for them,” said Mr. Augustine Amodu, Deputy Director of Enforcement NCC.
“Consumers of pirated software must also realize that they will be punished for contravening the law and putting people’s livelihoods as well as the economy of the country as a whole at risk. To win this fight against copyright infringements, it must be a joint effort of regulators as well as consumers.”
As at 2011, PC software piracy rates in Nigeria stood at 82 per cent with attendant opportunities for small business in the region of $250M lost. Local Nigerian businesses have had difficulty competing with counterfeiters that have priced their goods at below-market levels and are then forced to cut jobs.
“This enforcement action helps in getting consumers to understand the risk they are exposed to when they engage in the illegality of purchasing counterfeit software or mis-licensing software as a whole. It also helps to protect genuine business whose true purpose is to add value to the customer,” says Amodu.
Software piracy in organisations is often difficult to trace as the end users already have the software loaded on their systems, however, there is technology that makes this possible and regulatory and enforcement authorities now rely on that to broaden their reach to the demand market. Counterfeit software also includes fake hologram CDs and fake Certificate of Authenticity labels that look like the real thing and which are sold as complete software packages.
“End users should be careful when purchasing software as the promises made saying there is no difference between the genuine and counterfeit are not true. Consumers looking for a bargain should know that the price you could pay in data loss or identity theft by using counterfeit software that is vulnerable to computer viruses, malware and hackers far outweighs the gains you have made from the difference in pricing. ,” said Mrs Ugochi Agoreyo, Anti-Piracy Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa. “Many times, it’s just not worth the losses”.