RealTime IT News

Microsoft Nets $416,00 in Damages from Kenyan Pirates

[Nairobi, 19 June 2000] - The Microsoft Corporation of Africa last week netted the largest amount of copyright damages yet conceded in any African country through a claim brought against software pirates in Kenya.

Microsoft was awarded 25-million Kenyan Shillings (about $416,000) by the Kenyan Milimani Commercial Court, as well as interest accrued on that amount since court proceedings began on the 31st of March last year.

Litigation was instituted after a raid conducted by Microsoft's South East Africa and Indian Ocean division revealed that the vendor in question, Microskills Limited, had in their possession 65 machines containing unlicensed software.

Microskills pleaded no contest to the action brought by Microsoft Corporation of Africa and attempted to settle the matter out of court, but, following a breakdown in negotiations, the court ordered the vendor to pay the 25-million KShillings.

Microsoft East Africa Country Manager Louis Otieno is pleased with the decision.

"Microsoft is delighted, as are local software developers, that Kenyan authorities are committed to defending their copyrights as guaranteed by the Kenyan Copyright Act."

Otieno commented, however, that software developers in Africa face a task twice as difficult as that posed in Western countries. He reveals that up to 80% of software in use in East Africa is illegal. "Only a united front of ethical professionals, with help from responsible government officials committed to reducing piracy in Kenya can begin to reduce the high software piracy rate this country is facing." he concluded.