Uganda: Sh3 Billion Lost to Software Piracy


Microsoft loses Sh2.8b monthly to piracy in Busoga, Buganda and Ankole, a survey has shown. However, the firm loses over $15b (about sh31.7 trillion) annually due to software piracy, Andrew Waititu, the firm's anti-piracy manager for eastern and southern Africa, has disclosed. "In Uganda, over 86% of the firm's software loaded on computers is not paid for or counterfeit," he added.

Software piracy is the unauthorised copying of software and its illegal distribution for business or personal use. A total of 143,360 pirated compact discs (CDs) and 512 computers are sold per month in Kampala central, according to a random survey carried out by the Uganda Performing Rights Society early this year. James Wasula, the general secretary, said households, telephone firms, banks and beer companies were the major users of the pirated software.

These revelations were made during a journalists' training at the Kampala Serena Hotel last week. Worldwide, personal computer software piracy stands at 50%, meaning that out of two software packages sold, one is unpaid for.

"Software pirates are all over the world. They are engaged in large-scale reproduction of our products, which has resulted in this massive loss to the company," Waititu said. The rate, however, is higher in other countries. Pirates replicated 70,836 copies of Vista, a Microsoft product, in the last one year alone. The product costs each $100,000 (about sh207.1m).

Georgia has the highest software piracy rates at 95% followed by Bangladesh, Armenia and Zimbabwe at 92%, and Sri Lanka and Moldova 90%. Libya, Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Algeria, Pakistan and China also have high software piracy rates.

Waititu said China and Hong Kong had the leading software counterfeiters, who operate large factories.

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