Microsoft and Adobe Praise Washington's Executive Order To Protect Intellectual Property in Digital Age
Gov. Gary Locke to Announce Order at Government Leaders Conference
OLYMPIA, Wash., April 3, 2000 — Officials from Microsoft Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. today applauded the state of Washington and its governor, Gary Locke, for establishing a strong government policy to protect intellectual property rights in Washington state.
Washington is the fourth state to issue a state executive order requiring all state agencies and recipients of state funds to acquire and use legally licensed software. President Clinton issued a national executive order against software piracy in October 1998, and other countries around the globe ranging from China to Norway to Colombia have issued such intellectual property directives. Gov. Locke will speak about the executive order tomorrow at a meeting of the Government Leaders Conference, where, in his address on "Digital Government," he will highlight why the protection of intellectual property is important in today's economy.
"We're encouraged to see Washington continue to take a state leadership role in addressing the issue of intellectual property rights, as both consumers and governments move into the digital era where the online world becomes the norm for business transactions," said Anne Murphy, corporate attorney at Microsoft. "For the sake of consumers, who could be duped by counterfeit software, and in light of the continued contribution that the software industry makes to the health of the state economy, Governor Locke is to be applauded for issuing an executive order that places value on intellectual property."
"Software piracy is a billion-dollar issue for the software industry. Much focus over the years has been about foreign software piracy, obscuring the fact that piracy is a rampant domestic issue," said Kathleen Wilcox, president and CEO, Washington Software Alliance. "Washington is a state dependent on the success of vibrant intellectual property protection, so I'm especially pleased our governor is being a leader in preventing software piracy in Washington state agencies."
Approximately 20 percent of the software used in Washington -- one out of every five copies -- has been illegally copied, according to a 1998 study by International Planning & Research Corp. This level of software piracy presents a significant drain on Washington's high-tech industry and economy.
Governments are often prime targets for software pirates, in part due to the low-bid government procurement processes in place. Because many illegitimate software manufacturers advertise their products over the Internet, where it is more difficult for consumers to distinguish genuine from illegal software, it has become increasingly easy for customers at all levels to be deceived into believing that they are acquiring genuine software. Microsoft works closely with government agencies around the nation to help prevent them from inadvertently acquiring illegitimate software and licenses.
"Washington state residents clearly don't want their taxpayer dollars going toward pirated software or the organized crime rings that could be distributing it," Murphy said. "Washington state now joins California, Nevada and Colorado, all of which issued executive orders within the past year to recognize the importance of protecting consumers from scams and protecting intellectual property rights from infringement. In a state where intellectual property is valued, the software industry can flourish and continue to contribute to economic benefits locally and worldwide."
Batur Oktay, corporate counsel for Adobe Systems, agreed. "Consumer protections must evolve along with the rapid growth of the Internet," Oktay said. "That's why the executive order is so significant, because it demonstrates Governor Locke's and the state of Washington's leadership in supporting legal software usage. Consequently, it highlights the need to protect consumers and businesses from both traditional and online forms of Internet piracy. Continued piracy and copyright infringement will not only damage legitimate software companies like Adobe and Microsoft, but will ultimately harm consumers, businesses and governments who suffer the pitfalls associated with illegitimate and often virus-laden pirated software products."
Founded in 1982, Adobe Systems Inc. (www.adobe.com) builds award-winning software solutions for Web and print publishing. Its graphic design, imaging, dynamic media, and authoring tools enable customers to create, publish and deliver visually rich content for various types of media. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Adobe is the fourth-largest U.S.-based personal software company, with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
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