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Malaysia Cultivating a culture of “going original”

The Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (“MTDCA”) in July launched the campaign “Ops Sikap Tulen”, which means ‘to cultivate in people a culture of going original’, in order to intensify its combat against software piracy. This innovative campaign has been launched to educate the public to respect intellectual property rights.

The Minister in charge wants to promote through this campaign, a Malaysian way of thinking and behavior that understands and respects the intellectual property of others just as each respect and cares for ones own family and property. It is for these reasons that the sikap tulen is so challenging and important.

Target Groups

The campaign is aimed not only at companies and company directors, but also professionals, Information Technology mall operators and the public at large. It involves the following components, each targeting a specific group: –

i. Professional- directed at professionals with an aim at building a new generation of professionals who understand and respect intellectual property rights.

ii. Director- aimed at educating company directors to appreciate the importance of intellectual property and to make them aware of the consequences of using pirated software on themselves and their company.

iii. Company- directed at helping companies implement processes and policies such as software asset management policies and encouraging companies to conducting an audit on all computers in its organization and ensures all programs installed are legal.

iv. Society- aimed at nurturing a society that understands and respects IP rights.

v. IT Malls- aimed at educating and assisting Information Technology Mall operators and stores in shopping complexes to be piracy free.

This campaign is in fact an extension of the ongoing “Ops Tulen” (Operation Genuine) enforcement campaign by MTDCA to crack down on pirated ware. The MTDCA has at the same time escalated its enforcement activities under its “Ops Tulen” operations. Since January this year, MTDCA has conducted 22 raids compared to 23 raids for the whole of last year.

Strategic Partnerships

This campaign has the support and cooperation of the Business Software Alliance (“BSA”), the body that represents the interest of software developers world wide. According to its Chairman, Rama Tiwari, Sikap Tulen culture will be the foundation for Malaysia as we move forward in building a knowledge economy especially with the growing dependence on IT and software in daily business today and recognized the fact that MDTCA should be applauded for taking this approach which deals with the root of software piracy issues and this campaign will have a longer and lasting impact.

New Initiatives

Among the methods deployed by this campaign in creating IP awareness and knowledge, are the use of advertisements, mass media as well as talks and seminars, workshops aimed at each targeted group.

The campaign has kicked off to a good start with advertisements appearing in local dailies aimed at licensed professionals informing them of the consequences of using pirated software and with the warning that the MDTCA will not only take action against businesses but may also take legal action against licensed professionals individually. The MDTCA has sent out 5000 direct mail to companies and professional firms with the aim of educating them on the importance of respecting Intellectual Property rights.

Changing peoples mindsets is a difficult task thus the campaign may take a while to bear fruit but is a definitely a step in the right direction. The launch of the campaign coupled with the increasing enforcement activities and the setting up of Intellectual Property courts earlier this year reflects the Malaysia government’s commitment in seeking to wipe out piracy rates and its present aim is to reduce piracy rates in Malaysia to the world average of 35% or less from the present 60%.