Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Microsoft calls for more consumer education, government support

Abednego Hlatshwayo (Microsoft anti-piracy manager for East and Southern Africa) is quoted in Business Daily as saying that devices such as CD and DVD-writers, as well as internet tools, are making it easy for pirates to operate in Africa. In calling for more education for consumers in Kenya with regard to intellectual property rights, he regretted the high level of complacency displayed by the relevant State organs when it came to the protection of intellectual property. He added: "Although many African governments recognise these rights, they lack the ability to protect them", supporting his contention by the fact that only a few African governments have set aside resources that are needed to fight piracy, leaving the police and law enforcement agencies without the equipment they need to identify pirated goods and enforce IP regulations.

Microsoft has reported some success in supporting various anti-piracy initiatives in a number of African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana. In Zambia and Kenya, particularly, there are dedicated groups of police that form part of the IP Protection Agencies, and who are passionate about their work and see the value that they bring to the country through their anti-piracy activities.

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