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Campaign in Cyprus to stop software piracy

01 July, 2014

The advantages of using licensed software are at the centre of a campaign by the Business Software Association (BSA) to combat piracy, which is also being carried out in Cyprus, where it has been found that 47% of PC software without proper licensing was installed in 2013.

Nicholas Ktenas of Andreas Neocleous & Co LLC, legal counsel of BSA in Cyprus, told CNA that there were many risks from using unlicensed software, noting that efforts were being made to educate people about the benefits of using genuine software.

Ktenas noted that BSA comprised members from the software sector, and that `the aim of all these companies is to combat piracy`.

`In order to meet this aim, were are organising various informative campaigns, such as through the media, and some educational campaigns, such as seminars, where we try to educate people. Indeed, were are planning a seminar soon in cooperation with the Customs authorities, to train our customs officers to recognise products that violate copyrights`, he said.

He added that efforts were focusing on the software sector and `to educate people about the benefits of using genuine software`.

Asked whether the target groups were businesses or individuals, Ktenas said it was a combination of the two. `In order to combat piracy, you must target both individuals and businesses, always from an educational point of view, but mainly we are addressing businesses, large organisations`, he said.

Regarding the consequences from using unlicensed software, Ktenas said `our aim at this time is not to punish but to educate`.

Ktenas pointed out that users of unlicensed software, whether businesses or individuals, could suffer financial loss, adding that a user who saves sensitive information, such as bank account details, on a PC can only make sure the information is secure by using approved software.

Asked about the 47% of unlicensed software in Cyprus, Ktenas said `it is unfortunately a high percentage` and noted that this entailed `various risks`.

Ktenas referred to data loss, the inability to update unlicensed software, hacking, and compatibility, as well as the moral side of the matter, and wondered how one could expect programmers to continue producing software if they were not getting paid for their work.

`Our aim is neither to punish nor to threaten - we all know the financial situation in the country at the moment - but on the other hand we want to communicate messages to the people, not regarding consequences from using illegal software but regarding the benefits of using legal software`, he pointed out.

According to the BSA survey for 2013, in Cyprus the rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing was 47%in 2013, a 1 percentage point drop over 2011. The commercial value of that unlicensed software totaled almost €14 million.

The global rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing rose from 42% in 2011 to 43% in 2013, with the commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations totalling almost €46 billion.

The region with the highest overall rate of unlicensed PC software installations in 2013 was Asia-Pacific, at 62%. Central and Eastern Europe had the next-highest rate of unlicensed software installations at 61%, followed by Latin America at 59% and the Middle East and Africa also at 59%.

North America continues to have the lowest regional rate of unlicensed software installations at 19%,while in Western Europe it was 29% and in the EU 31%.

According to its website, the BSA, with headquarters in Washington, is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life.