This comes after six Auckland independent computer retailers had agreed to compensate Microsoft New Zealand to the tune of $34,000 for pirated software.
Each retailer had sold unlicensed software to an investigator posing as a customer, and reached settlements outside of court.
Tisam says piracy is widespread because of the small nature of the Cooks.
“It’s not really taken as seriously here because in the greater scheme of things we’re just a dot in the Pacific here,” says Tisam.
Summerfield Systems client relations manager Sharee Paiti says the issue of pirated software is a big one for the company.
“We’re very proactive at making sure genuine licences are being sent out,” says Paiti.
Paiti, who is one of two Microsoft Certified Professionals at the computer company, says the cost of software is the cause of widespread piracy in the Cook Islands.
“When you compare the average Cook Islands salary to the cost of what a licence is, it could well be a week’s worth of pay.”
The Computer Man owner Mike Pynenburg says his company has changed its policy recently, with each laptop coming “straight out of the box”, meaning they did not open the packaging and install any extra software.
“They’ve always had trial software on them but we’ve just changed our policy,” says Pynenburg.
“We don’t unpack and take them out of the box and inspect them and install any software now.”
Tisam says there is virtually no way of combating software piracy and says there’s an upside to the use of pirated software.
“I think the way it’s run now, at least gives some businesses some advantages, especially with electricity costs and telecommunication costs,” says Tisam.
“I know that may not be the right way to do it, but if you look at the greater scheme of things it’s an advantage for businesses here.”