Police Raid Store Selling Pirated Microsoft Software

Dennis Faas's picture

Security officials in one African country are helping to solve an ongoing problem for Microsoft: piracy and the sale of counterfeit software.

Police in Ghana have recently announced a successful raid on the premises of Skynet Computers and Accessories, discovering and seizing more than three dozen allegedly counterfeit copies of Microsoft software the company had stored at that location.

All the illegal copies found during the raid were confiscated and removed from the Skynet facility (a total of 39 units of suspect pirated material), but local authorities believe the original source of the counterfeit software remains at large, and is yet to be revealed.

Pirated Software Sealed, Appears Legitimate

Skynet had recently supplied as many as 400 copies of Windows 7 Professional software to a local bank, with each unit being encased in authentic-looking packaging that appeared indistinguishable from the genuine article. (Source: theafricareport.com)

According to a recent study conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), more than 70 per cent of PC users in Africa on a regular basis acquire their software illegally.

In many cases, this software reaches the hands of the average, law-abiding consumer through middle-men suppliers (like Skynet) that may or may not be aware of the unauthorized provenance of the goods they are purveying.

Ghana Security Officials Sympathetic to "Accidental Pirates"

Security officials in Ghana tend to be somewhat sympathetic to the plight of the average end-user who unknowingly acquires illegal software.

A lack of computer education leaves many computer users in Ghana uninformed regarding what constitutes software piracy, and whether they have participated in it. Seye Oloruntoba, Anti-Piracy Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, has coined the term "accidental pirates" to describe these individuals.

By running pirated software, these people expose themselves to serious penalties, which are costly for average individuals and disastrous for businesses.

Hope for Other Nations to Follow Suit

Oloruntoba has reaffirmed that software piracy is a crime taken "extremely seriously" in Ghana, where computer users are urged to alert local enforcement agencies (such as the Ghana Copyright Office) the moment any suspicions or specific software issues arise. (Source: ghanaweb.com)

With severe consequences in place for those who create and sell pirated and counterfeit software in Ghana, the hope is that other African countries will soon follow suit.

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