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Microsoft Takes Aim At Zambia Piracy ! - 1/25/2005 8:46:09 AM   

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Software giant pushes for country to enact Information and Communication Technology policy to prosecute pirates

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA - As Microsoft intensifies its crackdown on illegal use of software, the company is urging Zambia to speed up the enactment of the government's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy so that software pirates can be prosecuted.

The country's draft ICT policy, in its current formulation, gives guidelines on how to set up an Internet café and what constitutes software piracy.

Microsoft is losing revenue and jobs are in jeopardy because people in the computer business do not acquire legitimate software through official channels, according to Microsoft Market Development Partner Mwiche Simwinga.

Last month, Microsoft said that between 2003 and 2004, it lost about $12.4 billion worth of revenue through worldwide software piracy, with 81 percent of the loss coming from Africa.

"If the ICT policy was in place, it would help in the fight against software piracy," Simwinga said.

Microsoft has encountered difficulty when prosecuting software pirates because Zambia lacks software piracy laws apart from a music piracy regulation, which the police and antipiracy officers from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting enforce.

However, the government's draft ICT policy covering software piracy is expected to be effective within three months. The policy gives guidelines on what constitutes piracy and when legal action should be taken against pirates. Distribution, however, is not included as piracy in the draft ICT policy.

Microsoft, however, says piracy includes distribution of software regardless of whether it is for personal or business use.

Source : IDG News Service
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