Autodesk in $275,000 UAE piracy raid

Developer cracks down on unlicensed use of products in the region.
Ahmad Al Jassim, Ahmed Sanobar, Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance, Autodesk, Business Software Alliance, Piracy, News, Content production

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Autodesk has seized software with an estimated value of AED 1 million (US$275,000) from a UAE company allegedly using unlicensed copies of its products.

The CAD software developer said that pirated versions of its ‘AutoCAD 2007’ suite had been confiscated from an engineering consultancy in Abu Dhabi after repeated pleas to the company to resolve the matter amicably went unanswered.

According to Autodesk, which like Microsoft has been clamping down on the illicit use of its products in the Gulf region, the software was being used by around 70 of the firm’s employees.

Prior to the raid - carried out alongside the UAE Ministry of Economy and Salem Al Maddfa Advocates & Legal Consultants - Autodesk claims it sent warning letters to the consultancy and contacted it a number of times to resolve the matter in a civil manner, but the “lack of response” led it to pursue more drastic action.

It is not clear where the company purchased the copied software, but Ahmad Al Jassim, country sales manager at Autodesk Middle East, used the case to remind channel players that selling pirated software would not be tolerated.

“Our crackdown on illegal software across the country is aimed at putting a stop to these illegal activities that corrode the local industry, which we are working so hard to build and maintain,” said Al Jassim. “We have been prompt to action the issue concerning this particular engineering consultancy firm, and we will show no leniency towards resellers dealing with pirated software in the UAE.”

Following the raid, Autodesk said that the accused company had agreed to purchase 50 licences as “compensation” for its IPR violations.

Ahmed Sanobar, license compliance executive at Autodesk Middle East, said it was the company’s belief that the unauthorised use of its software often stemmed from a lack of understanding of licence agreements or from insufficient controls to monitor software usage.

“However, businesses still face important civil and criminal liabilities in the event of an infringement,” he added. “With this in mind, we are taking the opportunity to urge users into taking action to reduce their business’ exposure to potential copyright infringement, as we are fully committed to prosecuting unauthorised use of our products.”

-Andrew Seymour

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