“From this type of organization,” claims Microsoft, “other crimes arise; money laundering, arms trafficking and homicide.”
This issue was discussed at a “Day of Training in Intellectual Property,” held in Bogota, attended by Microsoft’s global anti-piracy chief, Keith Beeman, and the head of Colombia’s national copyright organization, Juan Carlos Monroy, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield.
The U.S. ambassador to Colombia supported Microsoft’s claims, stating that “everything is linked,” and warning that sellers of pirated software are tied to organized crime in the country.
Microsoft also highlighted the gang-like territorial character of illegal software vendors, who are divided into areas of influence, each with a boss.
Microsoft Spain commented that these statements refer to a local rather than a global problem, that in Colombia pirate software is sold on the streets and is closely connected with the mafia, whereas in Spain that kind of selling is less prevalent.
Also discussed at the meeting was the fact that Colombia has the lowest rate of piracy in the region, at 55%, while neighboring countries such as Venezuela have an 87% piracy rate. The piracy rate is defined as the number of pirate units of software out of the total number of units of software installed.
The money lost to piracy in Colombia increased from $136 million to $244 million in the last year, even though the rate of piracy decrease by 1%.