[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.