‘Why $287m yearly loss to pirated software is dangerous to economy’
Sage wants W’African countries to collaborate
The yearly loss of about $247 million to pirated software in Nigeria has been described as a great economic loss to the country.
To stem this tide, Sage has called for collaborative efforts among West African countries.
Sage, a technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, wants the region to block every avenue that encourages import of pirated software.
Sage, in a document made available To The Guardian on Monday, said software piracy undermines economic development and also potentially costs companies more in legal penalties and reputational damages than they would need to pay for legally licenced solutions.
According to it, Nigerian Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has been quoted saying that Nigeria loses about $287 million to software piracy each year, and this has to stop.
Regional Director for Sage in West Africa, Magnus Nmonwu, defines software piracy as the unauthorised duplication, distribution or use of business management software.
Nmonwu said Sage has observed that West African business builders are beginning to embrace the benefits of legally licensed business management software and understanding how these solutions power their operations to greater efficiency, noted that in the long run, the rate of software piracy in the region nonetheless remains high by world standards.
He described the menace as an illegal practice that is subject to civil and criminal penalties and it occurs in the following forms, amongst others: End-user copying (When one person buys a legally licensed piece of software and then allows more friends, business colleagues and family to copy the application than he or she has licenses for); Illegal downloading (When someone downloads an illegal copy of the software from the Internet or unapproved sources); Volume software license copying (When businesses underreport the number of computers on which the software is installed so that they can pay for fewer copies than they are actually using); Reseller copying (When resellers pass software onto their clients for free rather than selling a license); Duplicating solution(When resellers purchase a single licence or disc and then deploy it to several customers without giving the customers then necessary license codes).
Counterfeiting: Criminals copy the software and collateral, such as manuals, and sell it as the original product.
According to Nmonwu, software piracy is far from the victimless crime many businesses imagine it to be. “Piracy robs computer resellers and software vendors of their hard-earned revenues. This, in turn, undermines the ICT industry’s ability to create jobs, invest in product research and development, and pay taxes.
“Local resellers suffer because they don’t get the revenues they need to invest in their businesses. The only party that benefits from software piracy is the criminal profiting off someone else’s work and intellectual property. In some cases, pirates have ties to other organised crime activities, so software piracy can sponsor even worse crimes such as drug and human trafficking.”
What’s more, said Nmonwu, there is a very good chance that the pirated software you buy from an unethical retailer or downloaded via the Internet will contain some spyware or malware. He said these unwanted extras are harmful to computers and open one up to data breaches or data theft.
Another drawback of pirated software, according to him is that users will not have access to the vendor’s technical support or the latest patches and updates, including those that cater for regulatory and legislative changes in in the countries where you operate.
“This will mean that you will not be able to use the full set of functionality in your product or keep it updated with the latest security features and fixes. Using pirated software also denies the product owners access to feedback from end-users, which they use for research and development aimed at making the software better for everyone,” he stated.
Earlier at a forum in Lagos, the Head, Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Ijeoma Abazie, identified the benefits of curbing software piracy to include increased jobs, tax revenues and safety as opposed to the dangers associated with software piracy, which according to her, include funding global terrorism, undermining online stability and security by putting consumers’ data and security at risk.
She said generally, piracy/counterfeiting cuts across various sectors and industries. Its negative impacts affect many industries including entertainment, IP/software, education, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and dairy.
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