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Crackdown targets pirated books as university academic year begins

By Mohammad Ghazal - Sep 29,2014 - Last updated at Sep 29,2014

AMMAN — The National Library Department (NLD) began a campaign Monday to crack down on the sale of pirated software and books in parallel with the start of the new academic year at universities.

The NLD will focus on the sale of pirated books, especially since demand usually rises when each academic semester begins, NLD Director General Mohammad Abbadi said.

“Many stores, especially those near universities, buy the original edition of a book, make several photocopies and sell them to students,” Abbadi told The Jordan Times.

“This is illegal and a violation of copyrights, and we will send violators to court,” he added.

The NLD director urged students not to buy photocopied books.

“Stores deceive students. The original books are mostly sold for JD5 to JD6. Stores sell photocopies of these books for JD3 or JD4, which is not much cheaper,” Abbadi noted.

In other cases, however, the prices of university textbooks may range between JD15 and JD50, especially for specialties such as engineering, medicine and other scientific fields.

“Photocopies don’t have clear graphics, images and charts, and it is just not worth it most of the time to buy photocopies,” Abbadi added.

The official said pirated books represent some 5-6 per cent of the overall trading in pirated items.

The software industry’s losses in Jordan have been increasing every year, amounting to $35 million in 2013, compared to $31 million in 2011, $28 million in 2010, $26 million in 2009 and $22 million in 2008, according to a recent report by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The number of copyright infringement cases referred to court since the beginning of this year rose to 333, according to the NLD director, who said more than 40,000 pirated items, including CDs and DVDs of games, movies and software, have been confiscated since January 2014.

Software piracy in Jordan dropped by 1 per cent in 2013, and the Kingdom was among five Arab states with the lowest illegal use of unlicensed software, according to a BSA study.

Jordan registered a 57 per cent software piracy rating in 2013, compared to 58 per cent in 2011 and 57 per cent in 2009, the 2013 BSA Global Software Survey said.

Under Jordanian Copyright Law, it is a crime to download software, music or movies. Offenders face a prison sentence between three months and three years and a fine ranging from JD1,000 to JD6,000.

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