bidorbuy Declares War on Piracy in South Africa

(13 September 2005) bidorbuy, one of South Africa's largest online marketplaces, has taken a proactive stance against the selling of pirated goods online. Although e-commerce has shown tremendous growth over the past few years, its uptake has been hindered by various factors, one being consumers' concerns regarding pirated or illicit goods being sold online.

Looking at the number of people going online each year, the Internet has turned into a serious business medium, as the 25 000 people with dial-up Internet access in 1994 turned into an overall market of more than 3 million users in 2004. "With the rapid growth and uptake of this medium locally, protection of intellectual property on the Internet has become an increasingly urgent issue", says Andy Higgins, managing director at bidorbuy. "Due to the difficulty controlling this aspect, more dealers of pirated or illicit goods will switch to the Internet to promote and sell their goods."

"Many people do not realise the high stakes involved, as failure to enforce piracy regulations in cyberspace could have repercussions for the economy as a whole," says Higgins. "Piracy is nothing less than serious theft. It is a crime that impacts right across our society, from government to the retail sector and right down to the individual customer, who, in buying pirated goods, end up with inferior products. The only winners are the criminals - something that needs to be stopped immediately!"

bidorbuy has acknowledged combating piracy as a top priority. Although the company is not experts in identifying pirated goods, it is working closely with industry bodies and authorities to ensure the problem of pirated goods on the site is combated effectively. Such bodies include the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Southern African Federation against Copyright Theft (SAFACT), the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

SAFACT, a trade association representing the entertainment industry, recently entered into an agreement with bidorbuy in the fight against the sale of pirated DVD movies and games online. "When considering the fact that the film industry loses approximately R200 million per annum through piracy, the agreement with bidorbuy is an important step forward in our continuous fight against this crime," says Fred Potgieter, general manager at SAFACT. "Therefore we salute bidorbuy for this initiative and encourage other online auction sites to take similar responsibility to monitor what is being offered for sale on its site. This is of particular importance when we consider the increasing growth of Internet users in South Africa, many of which unfortunately use the Internet as a conduit for the sale of pirated films. In the USA and Europe for example, the greatest threat to the software industry is the Internet and as such we should prepare for this trend locally."

The issue of software piracy and the resale of counterfeit goods have far-reaching implications - not only for the manufacturers of the products but for the economies of the countries in which the practice proliferates. IDC, the international research house, released the results of its software piracy study earlier this year after surveying 87 countries worldwide.

"South Africa's piracy rate stands at 37 percent - up one percent from last year and close to the global average of 35 percent. The general African average is a staggering 80 percent, with countries such as Zimbabwe topping 90 percent. This translates into Africa's economy suffering to the tune of $1bn per year. EMEA loses around $15bn. Globally, piracy costs approximately $33bn," explains Stephan Le Roux, chairman of the BSA in South Africa.

"Piracy remains a serious problem in South Africa and we are dedicated to play a role in the ongoing war that is being waged against the illegal importation and selling of counterfeit and pirated goods in the country. As such, we are keeping with our commitment to making the online marketplace a safe and secure place to conduct business," concludes Higgins.

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything in an exciting auction format, using the Internet, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.