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U.S. expels Saudi students over pirated softwares

Saudi Arabia plans to take stern action against individuals and companies who trade in fake computer programs

Published: Updated:

The U.S. has barred 34 Saudi scholarship students from completing their studies at its universities and banned 40 Saudi tourists from entering its territories and returned them home for using unlicensed programs on their laptops, Makkah daily reported Monday quoting an official source.

Rafiq al-Okaili, director of the department of copyright at the Ministry of Culture and Information, said the students have changed the countries of their study following the decision.

He said Australia has also adopted the same measure against three Saudi students studying at its universities.

Okaili recalled that about two years ago, an American university had inspected the laptop of a Saudi female student after accusing her of installing pirated software on her laptop. He said the female student showed the university's administration the bills of purchasing the software from a bookshop in the Kingdom. "The university contacted the bookshop which proved that the programs were authentic," he added.

Okaili said since 2009 the European Union, the U.S. and other countries have become very particular about the intellectual property rights and are giving particular attention to computer piracy.

He asked all citizens to use original programs on their PCs and laptops within the war against computer piracy.

Oakili said the ministry plans to take stern action against individuals and companies who trade in fake computer programs.

He added that the Kingdom is cooperating with a number of software companies to fight computer piracy which adversely affects the Kingdom's economy.

He said the planned punishments against the software pirates include imprisonment, fines and defamation in local media.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 13, 2014.