The Nigerian Police raided the premises of IPS Plus Solution Limited, a computer
reseller at Veterans Plaza, located in Yaba, following a consumer tip-off, an undercover
test purchase and a subsequent petition to the local law enforcement authorities
by Microsoft Corporation. The raid took place on 14 September 2011 and the matter
has been handed to the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for further investigation.
IPS Plus Solution Limited apparently had offices in both Lagos and Abuja. The raid
is just one example of several in recent months that has found resellers to be in
possession of high quality counterfeit software that is packaged like genuine software
– a trend resulting in many consumers, who believe they are purchasing software
from a reliable source, unknowingly becoming victims to software piracy.
Says Seye Oloruntoba, Anti-Piracy Manager, Microsoft Nigeria: "We've noticed a rising
number of what turn out to be 'accidental pirates' – people who unintentionally
purchase counterfeit software from resellers and only later find out they have been
duped. In doing so, they expose themselves to a plethora of risks, which in the
long-run can prove extremely costly for individuals, and often disastrous for businesses.
Honest resellers, who sell only genuine software, are put at an unfair disadvantage,
and ultimately the whole economy feels the effects. "
An undisclosed representative from Symantec Brand Protection confirmed that IPS
Plus Solution Limited was a known seller of counterfeit software in Nigeria. "Symantec
is very appreciative of the enforcement action taken to stop the sale of counterfeit
software. This enforcement activity will help in our fight to protect Nigerian consumers
from the known risks associated with using pirated software."
A recent global study conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) revealed
that 82% of Nigerians acquire software illegally on a regular basis and confirmed
that many consumers are unsure of what constitutes software piracy .
"We are actively working to ensure our customers and partners in Nigeria are protected
from unscrupulous suppliers," added Oloruntoba. "This is a responsibility we take
extremely seriously. When they come to us for help, we make sure they receive the
necessary support and we also alert local law enforcement authorities like the NCC.
There must be severe consequences for those who sell pirated and counterfeit software
It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between genuine and non-genuine
software, unless consumers are discerning and know what to look out for. Oloruntoba
suggests following these tips to avoid being misled when purchasing software:
- Before you purchase Windows software, ask resellers to confirm it will pass the
Windows activation test. Activation and validation are the keys to genuine software.
- Beware of the common gateways of digital counterfeiting: websites advertising 'cheap
software'; online auction sites with links to download sites offering counterfeit
software; and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or other file-sharing technologies.
- 3. Buy from a trusted source. Research online or local sellers extensively before
making a purchase. Microsoft always recommends that Resellers source their software
from a Microsoft Authorized Distributor, and that Consumers check that their suppliers
sourced product supplied by a Microsoft Authorized Distributor. A current list of
Microsoft Authorized Distributors is available at: http://www.microsoft.com/oem/authdist/default.mspx.
- Compare the price. Counterfeit software is often sold at a much cheaper price, but
can end up costing users hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Be suspicious of products that lack some form of proof of authenticity – such as
a hologram, CD, DVD, recovery media, manuals and Microsoft Software License Terms
- Be extremely careful when buying from software sellers in other countries as this
complicates matters if the transaction goes awry.
- Keep your anti-virus program up to date. This reduces your computer's risk of exposure
to viruses and malware when downloading software.
- Say no to sellers offering backup copies or bundles of several programs.
For more information on how to protect yourself from counterfeit software, as well
as tips and tricks for how to spot and avoid illegal software, please visit Microsoft's
anti-counterfeiting site http://www.howtotell.com.