Economic sources have said that pirated computer software amounts to 73% of the market value in Saudi Arabia. This costs software developers more than one billion Saudi Riyal (US $ 275 million).

The sources added that the wide-spread problem has forced some genuine software outlet dealers to close down their business. The sources went on to say that the growth in the rate of computer use in Saudi Arabia, over 27%, helped the piracy rate reach above 73%.

investigatation teams of the Ministry of Information in Saudi Arabia seized pirated software during raids on a number of firms in Jeddah and Riyadh recently. The raid campaigns have had positive results, especially in view of the Ministry's stern application of penalties enforceable under the law. Such penalties include fines, closing down the establishment for 15 days, or both of these penalties, plus confiscating the hardware and copied programs.

Penalties are expected to multiply and become more of a deterrent to pirated software producers and users once Saudi Arabia implements provisions of the TRIPs Agreement.

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