KARACHI (November 20 2002) : Business Software Alliance, a watchdog agency which looks after the affairs related to the illegal software operations internationally, has urged all companies to get licensed software by December 10. After the deadline, the companies who fail to get licensed software would have to face legal action under copyright law. “BSA has halted its enforcement activities in Pakistan and given the users and sellers of pirated software a 30-day grace period ending December 10 to become legally compliant,” said Jawad Al Redha, Director of BSA, Middle East. He said that the BSA member companies, including Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and Symantec have announced special offers to help Pakistan's corporate sector acquire legal software. “These world's leading software developers have offered 30 percent to 90 percent discount on their products till December 10,” he added. These concessions follow a two-month sweep of police assisted raids against the users and sellers of illegal software in which, 11 persons were arrested on the criminal charged for violating the copyright law, he said. Al Redha said it is unfair for the companies to use pirated software and make money out of it. “Software is intellectual property of a person or a company who spends money and time to create the computer programmes, so it should be respected by all means,” he said. The software piracy also affects the country's economy in the shape of lost revenues. Besides the future of information technology in any country depends on how it respects and enforces the copyright law, he said. BSA, Al Redha said, has established a toll-free helpline (0800-01234) in Karachi for those who want to get more information on how to become legally compliant. Meanwhile, it is sending awareness letters to companies to respect copyright laws. “We urge all the companies to take these communications seriously, so that they may not run into any trouble,” he said. He said BSA was not only concentrating on big companies, rather “everyone who breaks the software copyright law may be a target of BSA.” BSA is a group formed by world's leading software developers to check software piracy, he said. It is promoting the growth of the software industry through its international public policy, education, and enforcement programmes in 65 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Its world-wide members include Adobe, Apple Computer, Autodesk; Bentley Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symantec.
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