Kuwait has been named by IFPI and BSA as having one of the highest levels of piracy within the Gulf States. In the year 2003, music piracy for Arabic and International repertoire reached approximately 60 per cent, with even higher figures for the Indian repertoire, whilst software piracy maintained a level of around 73 per cent. Out of the 35,000 PCs sold in 2003, only around 2,000 were uploaded with original software, according to industry figures.
“The constantly high rate of music piracy in Kuwait is a setback in our efforts to protect the rights of the international, regional and local music producers in the region,” said Willem van Adrichem, Regional Coordinator, Anti-piracy Enforcement, IFPI. “The victims of music piracy include the artists whose creativity gets no reward, governments who lose hundreds of millions of tax revenues and economies that are deprived of new investment. It also acts as a brake on growth and jobs besides consumers getting less diversity and less choice.”
The Kuwait government has recently signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States. This could be the first step to a free trade agreement between Kuwait and the United States. The government also enacted a Copyright Law in 1999 that was put into effect in February 2000. The first law of its kind provides protection to artistic and literary works. “We would like to commend these efforts which can give a new direction to the fight against piracy as the protection of Intellectual Property rights in Kuwait is clearly mentioned in the agreement,” said Van Adrichem.
“In today’s global economy, intellectual property is a motor of economic growth and the greatest victim of music piracy is the local culture. The overall performance of Kuwait in piracy control is sending the wrong signals to music pirates and will make them bolder in flouting the law and violating the intellectual property rights of regional and international music companies,” added van Adrichem.
Mohammad Al-Dallal, BSA Kuwait, also commented on the situation in Kuwait with regards to piracy in general and software piracy in particular. “The Gulf has made impressive strides in reducing software piracy in recent years and we would like to thank the various governments for their support in helping BSA conduct sustained campaigns against them,” said Al-Dallal. “However, the lack of aggressive measures in Kuwait in this field has led to a rise in software piracy there, defeating our plan to bring about a general reduction in piracy levels across all countries in the region. Software piracy is particularly wide spread amongst small and medium businesses, where it is estimated that only one company out of ten is using legal software.”
“Shocking figures have emerged from the Kuwait software market for the year 2003, placing Kuwait as the 14th worst country for software piracy in the world according to the Eighth Annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study,” added Al-Dallal. “This calls for a renewed campaign in collaboration with the Kuwaiti authorities, in a bid to restore the confidence of the global software and music industry and enhance the name of Kuwait as a protector of intellectual property rights. BSA is looking forward to working closely with the authorities in putting together an effective action plan to reverse this dangerous phenomenon.”
International and regional music companies under the helm of the IFPI are collaborating to fight music piracy in Kuwait. London-based IFPI has been actively combating music piracy in various countries, and has lobbied for anti-piracy legislations in many countries, as well as working with local authorities to take action against music pirates. According to IFPI, piracy has become a serious problem in the Middle East region, mainly due to poor anti-piracy enforcement.
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