Soft method not possible on piracy offenders
Kuala Lumpur, 4 July 2000 (MaxisNet) - Proceeding the announcement pertaining to their latest enforcement campaign against the utilisation of illegal, pirated and unlicensed software on 23rd May, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has announced the commencement of Crackdown 2000.
This is an enforcement program that will feature integrated, intensive enforcement to combat software piracy of all forms. The strategies implemented will include end-user surprise checks, visits and raids to organisations throughout the country.
Working closely with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) - the voice of the world's leading software developers before governments and consumers - educational messages and warnings have been issued through various media since its announcement in an effort to ensure that organisations understand their legal obligations under the Copyright Act.
Datuk Pahamin A. Rajab, Secretary General of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs said, "Fair warning has been served. In addition to the extensive advertising that has been employed over the past six weeks, over 23, 000 letters have also been sent to heads of organisations warning of the consequences of violating the copyright laws of the country in the continued use of unlicensed software. The message is clear - the government will no longer tolerate such unethical behaviour in the development of our k-economy and Vision 2020."
Should an organisation be found guilty of copyright infringement, the company and its senior management may be liable to a fine of up to RM10, 000 per infringing software and/or up to a five-year jail term. In addition to criminal prosecution, the company also faces possible civil action by the copyright owner.
Chee Chun Woei, vice-president of the BSA in Malaysia and Singapore said, "With a piracy rate of 71% in 1999, the software industry has lost nearly RM320 million in revenue. When you think of the losses not only to the software owners, but to legitimate Malaysian developers, distributors, resellers and other value-added units in the supply chain, piracy is robbing legitimate businesses in Malaysia of legitimate income. Crackdown 2000 is a bold but timely initiative which is needed to reduce software piracy levels significantly."
To complement the enforcement program, the BSA is operating a toll-free hotline number - 1 800 887 800 - for enquiries and reports of software piracy. Since the announcement of Crackdown 2000, over 1,000 calls have been received, with nearly 200 reports of software piracy.
To organisations who remained defiant of the ministry's warnings, this was the advice given by Chee, "Legalise your software now. It may be too late when you hear the Enforcement Division officers knocking on your door."