Software pirates in Kenya given amnesty

By Carole Kimutai, Nairobi, Kenya

Autodesk Africa is offering users of pirated software until 30 April to approach local Autodesk channel partners to purchase legal versions of AutoCAD and related software products without fear of retroactive prosecution. This is a proactive move by Autodesk Africa to curb piracy in East Africa through an amnesty campaign supported by local Kenyan authorities and stakeholders like the Kenya Copyright Board.

A founding member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Autodesk aims to not only drastically reduce software piracy in the region to protect the the local economy, but also better protect their customers from malicious software coding that is often contained in pirated versions.

“The key to changing a region’s mindset about software piracy is to make the legitimate product more accessible and affordable to local businesses,” explains Eric Mule, the Managing Director of Autodesk’s distribution partner in East Africa, WorldsView Technologies. The company has made it easy for their customers to purchase genuine Autodesk software from 23 local approved partners throughout East Africa, 16 of which are in Kenya.

In recent research conducted by BSA, most Autodesk customers in Africa would prefer to buy licensed software, but often don't know where to find it.  As a result, they resort to pirated copies that don't carry any of the benefits associated with buying valid licensed software, including after sales support and regular upgrades. “Now that customers are able to access our software more easily, we are offering an opportunity to those customers who know they are using illegal copies of Autodesk software, to come forward and trade in their illegal software for a legal copy without fear of prosecution,” Mule adds.

The amnesty announcement was made at a conference hosted by Autodesk in Nairobi last week where senior Autodesk executives, local channel partners and industry professionals focused on the economic effects of software piracy in East Africa, Autodesk’s partnerships with local authorities to curb software piracy, and the investment that Autodesk has made into the region to support the local architecture, engineering and construction industries.

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