Jail for pirated goods trader 'upheld'
Riyadh, February 28, 2012
Saudi Arabia’s Board of Grievances (BOG) has upheld the recommendation of the Ministry of Information to mete out a jail sentence against a trader of pirated goods, a statement said.
The conviction is a precedent for merchants to strictly comply with KSA’s piracy laws, while serving as a deterrent to would-be violators, said the Arabian Anti Piracy Alliance (AAA).
In delivering its judgement, the BOG has also quashed doubts about the enforcement of piracy laws in Saudi Arabia, which has recorded the highest piracy rate in the GCC at 60 per cent, it said.
The Piracy Law Fear Factor (PLFF) survey commissioned by AAA and participated by intellectual property rights holders from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), electronic games industry, Pay TVs and movie industry, revealed that up to 89 per cent of respondents believe that owners of businesses engaged in piracy will not get imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, 67 per cent of respondents believe that imprisonment will help solve the problem of piracy in the country, the statement said.
Scott Butler, AAA chief executive officer, said: “The adjudication of this case is a very important victory for anti-piracy advocates as it is the first-ever court judgement in KSA resulting in imprisonment. The judgement is a strong deterrent to prevent such criminal activities from proliferating in the country, knowing that the Saudi judiciary is prepared to apply the full extent of the law in trying cases related to piracy.
"Pirate activities have already resulted in huge losses for the Saudi economy, with studies indicating that reduction of piracy rates could have potentially yielded up to $1 billion in GDP in the past two years. This clearly represents a huge incentive for the Saudi Government to step up its efforts to break up pirate syndicates. For our part, the AAA along with our strategic partners is certainly eager to provide all necessary support to ensure that anti-piracy laws are strictly enforced in the country,” he said.
In the landmark piracy case, the convicted pirate’s retail outlet and warehouse had been raided a total of seven times since 2006, resulting in the seizure of over 100,000 counterfeit products and several reproduction equipment. Each of the first six offences resulted in escalating fines by the Violation Review Committee. Following the seventh raid in 2010, the Minister of Information recommended to the highest judiciary authority, the Board of Grievances, a judgement of imprisonment, which the BOG finally upheld in its recent decision, the statement said. - TradeArabia News Service