Microsoft Nigeria last Wednesday advised the Federal Government to intensify the campaign against piracy at all levels to bring about improvement in the economy.
Microsoft Country Manager, Mr Emmanuel Onyeje, gave the advice at the media briefing to mark this year’s Microsoft Anti-Piracy Day in Lagos.
Onyeje described piracy as a major scourge on the economy as it affected virtually all sectors of the economy.
“We are not just advocating for the eradication of software piracy because we are software developers, but piracy in general because it affects virtually all intellectual properties.
“Piracy affects the music, movie and creative arts industry making these industries unattractive for newcomers who tend to use their intellectually property as a means of livelihood,” he said.
Onyeje said piracy was killing intellectual property and the economy since no industry alone could engage about 170 million people.
“Piracy also affects government because of the loss of tax that should be remittable to government, but since pirates are faceless entities it is impossible for them to be taxed. “The software piracy especially is detrimental to every sector, whether public or private, because malwares that can cripple an organisation’s system are usually embedded in pirated software’s,” he said.
He advised government to invest more in information technology and create more awareness on the danger of buying pirated products, not just software’s but any counterfeit product or pirated copy. “Over the years, more than 60 per cent of people and organisations will get infected by dangerous malware due to lack of awareness of the danger of pirated products,” he said.
The Hewlett-Packard (HP) Supplies Country Manager, Mrs Rita Amuchienwa, said that HP had developed an innovation that would help reduce the manufacturing of pirated computer hardware in its fight against piracy.
“We have developed a code called the QR code which can be used to authenticate our product at the point of sale by just using your smart phone.
“We need more innovation like this to help us save the various industries that are highly prone to piracy to create more employment and save our economy,” she said. Gabriel Afolayan, an actor, who represented the Nigerian entertainment industry at the event, described the sector as the worst hit by piracy.
“Nollywood is the third largest producer of movies in the world. “And we don’t have anything to show for it in the quality of our movies or the lifestyle of the people in the industry.
“This is because over 50 per cent of Nollywood movies are pirated; a movie that’s to debut on Monday will be already in the black market on Sunday.
“Government needs to step in and make this work for us because it’s a continuous war and they should not relent in their efforts. “The media also has a major role to play by sensitising the public on the dangers of patronising pirated products.
“I will like to urge all relevant authorities to work on the mindset of the public in their fight to curb piracy.
“It’s only when the public knows that buying pirated products will eventually hurt them that we can start making head way in curbing this menace,” he said.