S'pore raid bags US$1.14M pirated software

Singapore police seize software from manufacturing company in largest haul of suspected unlicensed products since 2005 from tip-off, reports Business Software Alliance.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Local police last week uncovered suspected unlicensed software worth S$1.4 million (US$1.14 million) from a manufacturing company, according to a software industry lobbying group.

In a Tuesday statement, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said the Singapore Police Force seized 10 copies of suspected pirated software found on computers on the premises of the unnamed company. The seized software include Mastercam v9 and Mastercam X5 from CNC Software, a member of BSA, the group reported.

The raid, said BSA, was a result of its investigation following a tip-off. Based on value, this is the largest haul of suspected unlicensed software coming from a tip-off since 2005, when the country's Copyright Act was amended, making it a criminal offense for a person or company to obtain a commercial advantage from unlicensed or pirated software.

BSA added that it is currently investigating more than eight reports from its online anti-piracy reporting Web site. Tip-offs submitted via the site have "surged", following intensified antipiracy efforts from November 2010 to early this year, it noted. At the same time, BSA increased rewards for successful leads from S$20,000 (US$16,240) to S$50,000 (US$40,600) as well as "instant rewards" of S$1,000 (US$812) for qualified informants.

Tarun Sawney, BSA's senior director of antipiracy in the Asia-Pacific region, noted that businesses face severe criminal penalties and civil redress from copyright holders. "With the authorities taking firm action against use of infringing software in the workplace, and as more reports stream in, it is imperative that business owners, managers and directors take steps to ensure that their software is legal and fully licensed."

Companies should adopt a robust software asset management process to avoid flouting copyright laws, Sawney advised.

In a briefing last month, BSA reported that commercial losses from software piracy in the Asia-Pacific region hit a record high in 2010, at US$18.7 billion.

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