The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has clamped down on and estate management firm, Jide Taiwo & Co in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Deputy Director of Enforcement NCC, Mr. Augustine Amodu, noted that the usual clamp downs have been on channel distributors, but NCC is trying to take piracy fight to the end-users as well.
He also said that different Microsoft software packages suspected to be counterfeits were discovered, including Microsoft Operating Systems Windows XP and Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010.
He explained that the raid took place after Jide Taiwo & Co failed to provide the client access license for its Microsoft Windows 2003.
Some of the suspected physical items taken away from the premises comprise a media for Microsoft Office 2010, keys for Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Vista and Microsoft Windows 7.
He further said that all the items have been sent to Microsoft Ireland office for confirmation and an investigation into the matter is currently ongoing.
“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,” Amodu said.
He stressed that 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,” he said.
Amodu pointed out that as at 2011, PC software piracy rates in Nigeria stood at 82 per cent with attendant opportunities for small business in the region of $250 million 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,” he said.
This enforcement action, he said, 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, adding that software piracy in organisation is often difficult to trace as the end users already have the software loaded on their systems.
Emphasising 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, Amodu said, 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.
Mrs Ugochi Agoreyo, the Anti-Piracy Manager at Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, said that end-users should be careful when purchasing software.
Consumers looking for a bargain, she said, 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.
“Many times, it’s just not worth the losses,” she said.
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