Raids in China to limit software piracy in Nigeria

Computing

The fight against computer software piracy in Nigeria has received a boost following raids and arrests made in southern China over the last two weeks – the result of the largest investigation of its kind in the world.

The Public Security Bureau (PSB) in China, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and hundreds of private companies and partners had been working together to crack a major software counterfeiting syndicate.

The syndicate was allegedly responsible for distributing US$2bn worth of counterfeit Microsoft software to 27 countries around the world, including Nigeria. Not only did this prevent software resellers from making legitimate revenues, it also exposed users to the risks associated with using pirated software.

The counterfeit goods seized in the raids comprised 13 of Microsoft’s most popular products, including Windows Vista, Office 2007, Office 2003, Windows XP and Windows Server.

“Microsoft Nigeria appreciates the work of China’s Public Security Bureau in taking such strong enforcement action with these arrests and raids in Southern China,” said John Okereke, Licensing and Compliance Manager at Microsoft Nigeria.

“This case should serve as a wake-up call to counterfeiters. Customers and other organisations around the world are turning you in, and decisive action will be taken to protect intellectual property.”

Microsoft software users and resellers around the world played a significant role in bringing the software pirates in China to book. Numerous customers identified counterfeit software utilising anti-piracy technologies like those used in conjunction with Windows Genuine Advantage. The software could be forensically linked to the syndicate in China.

Software piracy costs the international software market in the region of US$40bn every year. In the last 18 months, law enforcement agencies worldwide have seized almost one million units of counterfeit software and with the help and co-operation of private organisations, anti-piracy activities are intensifying.

According to research firm, IDC, Nigeria’s 82% piracy rate is higher than the African average and amounts to millions of dollars of losses in the region.

“Microsoft invests a lot of time and money into protecting its legitimate customers and resellers from the threat of counterfeit software,” Okereke added.

“With initiatives such as Windows Genuine Advantage, we focus on education, engineering and enforcement as the key pillars in helping customers and resellers to fight the problem of software counterfeiting and piracy. The raids and arrests in China are a great boost in that fight.”

Computerisation of Land Documents Begins in Ghana

The out-going Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Prof. Dominic Fobih, has disclosed that the Ministry has embarked on the Land Administration Project [LAP] which is aimed at computerising land-processing services in all the Land Sector Agencies.

He said all these were being taken up by government to make land service delivery faster, simple and transparent and as such the Regions had established deed registries of which Koforidua was a benefice including even a customary land secretariat at Kyebi.

The Minister observed that the government agenda of property owning democracy and poverty reduction could only be achieved if the Lands Commission was able to play its role in providing efficient and effective land delivery service since all socio-economic activities were predicated on lands.

Prof. Fobih, asked the Commission to use tact, diplomacy and firmness to deal with protracted land disputes, which may be linked, to chieftaincy disputes.

He further disclosed that his Ministry and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have put in place, a land bank committee whose primary duty would be to scout for land and make them available for investment purposes.

Spelling their roles for them, he charged the Board Members to facilitate the identification of landowners, establish rights and the registration of lands. "I expect you to put in place effective mechanisms that would ensure that land is used as a medium for increased food production, expanded housing stock and an enhanced production of goods and services all in a peaceful atmosphere", he charged.

The Board Chairman, Dr. Ebenezer M. Debrah, observed that service in the Lands Commission Secretariat calls for great integrity and honesty as they were often distressed by some of the stories of impropriety which goes around and by the bitter land litigations which take time.

But he assured that the Board would be an active part of the process of strengthening and consolidating the economy of the country in achieving middle-income status by 2015.

"Under our client service programme, we have prepared schedules which will enable the usual go come, go come to end. We are looking into it to disappear at the Lands Commission in Koforidua forever as only legal fees will be charged and paid for, no more, no less," he pledged.

(Source: Ghanaian Chronicle)