Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Microsoft decries pirated software

Microsoft decries pirated software

Cambodia’s economy loses about $50 million every year due to pirated software, according to Microsoft Cambodia
Cambodia’s economy loses about $50 million every year due to pirated software, according to Microsoft Cambodia. VIREAK MAI

Microsoft decries pirated software

Microsoft Cambodia has found that an overwhelming majority of computer retailers surveyed earlier this year failed to offer customers the option to purchase licensed, as opposed to pirated, software.

Out of the 54 Cambodian computer retailers included in the May survey, the results of which were released over the weekend, 96 per cent did not offer the licensed option.

As a result, Microsoft says that 90 to 95 per cent of computer users in Cambodia are using illegal software.

Though Microsoft dominates the market for operating systems in Cambodia, company representative Pily Wong says that “it is the entire system” that is suffering.

“Computer shops, they make very little margins on computers, and now they make zero margins on pirated software,” he said.

Wong said that larger profits for both retailers and distributors through the sale of licensed products would lead to greater job creation in Cambodia’s economy, which, according to Microsoft, loses $50 million a year through the sale of pirated software.

Citing Cambodia’s domestic copyright law, Microsoft warned that violators could face fines of one million to 20 million riel ($250 to $5,000) and one to five years' imprisonment. But it is more likely that they will face none of the above, at least for now.

“We really want to fully protect the law on property rights, but so far a lack of resources is the major challenge to enforce the law,” said Var Roth San, director of the intellectual property department at the Ministry of Commerce.
Roth San said his department alone would require 16 more staff members for which no existing budget can pay.

But as long as software counterfeiters continue to infringe copyright, innovation will be limited, Roth San said, and Cambodia’s image will suffer.

While Cambodia’s copyright laws remain intact, international pressure to enforce them eased in June when the World Trade Organisation agreed to extend a waiver that frees least developed countries (LDCs), Cambodia included, from cracking down for another eight years. Commonly protected products include books, music, film and software.

The WTO move, proponents of the extension say, allows LDCs the continued opportunity to access technology that may otherwise be unaffordable through the protection of intellectual property laws.

Having met with the government, Wong, at Microsoft, said there may be another avenue for protecting pirated software.

Wong says Cambodia’s trademark laws, which protect brand logos, could be used to prosecute those buying and selling pirated software, as the trademark is clearly displayed on both the packaging and when the software is being used.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished