By Emeka Aginam
As part of continued fight against pirated software product, the officials from the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) recently raided the premises of a software reseller, in Ikeja, Lagos.
Although the name of the reseller was not disclosed as at press time, the raid, according to Microsoft in a statement which followed an undercover test purchase of counterfeit software by the NCC, resulted in the seizure of suspected high quality counterfeit
Microsoft Windows and Office software by the authorities.
Meanwhile, in a country where the Business Software Alliance (BSA) estimates the PC software piracy rate was 83% in 2009, local Nigerian businesses, Microsoft said have had difficulty competing with counterfeiters that have priced their goods at below-market levels and are then forced to cut jobs.
Even as the Commission is currently still investigating the piracy, counterfeit goods, according to
Mr Afam Ezekude, Director General of NCC are a plague on our markets. “We must put a stop to the software pirates that trick innocent consumers and small businesses into parting with their hard-earned cash for illegal and, sometimes dangerous, goods. Starting a new business on counterfeit software is like building a house on quick sand.” he said.
This enforcement action, according to Mr Nnamdi Ezeji, Microsoft Product Manager, High Performance Distribution Limited helps in levelling the playing field for honest businesses and exposes unscrupulous resellers who exploit customers’ good faith by providing them with fake software.
Counterfeit software includes fake hologram CDs and fake Certificate of Authenticity labels that look like the real thing and which are sold as complete software packages.
Customers who make the purchases in good faith, according to him, believe that what they are purchasing is genuine when the product is in fact counterfeit.
“Consumers looking for a bargain should know pirates often advertise a bottom-of-the-barrel sale price,” Kenneth Mba, Anti-Piracy Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, said, adding that , “But the price you could pay in data loss or identity theft by using counterfeit software that is vulnerable to computer viruses, malware and hackers is much, much higher.”