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Malaysia to raid companies in bid to combat software piracy

Posted by iMark - 2006-04-12

Malaysia pledged to take an aggressive stance on companies using pirated software, with surprise raids on private offices as part of the crackdown.
"Let me warn recalcitrant companies not to treat this lightly as ... you will be caught and be brought to court to face the full penalty of the law," said Roslan Mahayudin from the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry.

Roslan said Malaysia had succeeded in lowering the piracy rate in private businesses from around 70 percent a few years ago to 61 percent in 2004, but that the battle was "far from over".

"We are aggressive in fighting piracy to ensure that the piracy rate is as low as possible," said the ministry's acting director general.

In a campaign launched last year, enforcement authorities have been targetting the senior management of companies caught using unlicensed software.

Firms have until April 30 to stop using pirated programs, after which enforcement officers working with global watchdog Business Software Alliance (BSA) will conduct raids on their offices.

"The ministry and the BSA's representatives will be making surprise random visits to companies around the country," Roslan said.

The authorities were "serious about the charging and prosecution of corporate software pirates, including holding directors and senior management of companies responsible. No one will be exempted," he said.

Offenders face up to five years in jail and fines of up to 20,000 ringgit (5,450 dollars) for each infringement under Malaysia's copyright laws.

According to the BSA, the Malaysian software industry lost 99.5 million dollars in software revenue in 2002 due to piracy.

And like many Asian countries, Malaysia is awash in pirated movie DVDs, with the latest releases sold openly in shopping malls and market stalls for just a few dollars.

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