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Malaysia cracks down on software piracy

Machines producing illegal Disc Copies

As Malaysian government officials reinforce their aim to curb piracy by setting example, another recent incident proved their genuineness. Although the battle to combat piracy in order to protect intellectual property is a difficult one, Malaysia is on the right track. Fourteen machines worth RM42 million (US $13 million) that manufactured pirated disc copies were seized and destroyed only just recently.

In a gesture of defiance like no other, the Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Shafie Apdal, used a crane with an attached metal crusher to destroy the machines. This, like all other actions carried out by Malaysian officials, is a warning to the organizations that produce pirated DVDs and CDs that they are being watched and will be found out.

Minister Apdal mentioned to reporters in southern Negeri Sembilan state that the demolition of the seized machines was to protect the interests of copyright owners, but also at the same time to make sure that the resources and resulting profits were not used for unscrupulous activities in the wrong hands. Nor Hayati Yahaya, the country manager for the Motion Picture Association, was equally impressed with this action and told reporters that not only did the destruction of the machines send out a hard-hitting anti-piracy message but also lead to the removal of the machines from the illegal CD and DVD production cycle.

Pirated Discs

In an effort to combat the illegal selling of entertainment software, 50 enforcement officers to gaming products were recently introduced at a seminar called the Operation Games Attack. Deputy Minister Datuk S. Veerasingam opened and spoke at the seminar.

Minister Veerasingam mentioned that 20 licensed factories had been closed down and their licenses revoked by officials who had found pirated discs produced alongside original ones. More than 30 million DVDs and CDs were seized over a period of a few years ranging from January 1, 2002 to October 21, 2007 in over 5,000 raids. Furthermore, 108 people had been arrested in raids during that same period, and those found to be in breach of the law had been fined and/or jailed.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has, over the past five years, seized over RM308 million (US $92 million) worth of pirated DVDs and CDs. On top of this, 130 disc-manufacturing machines worth RM1 million (US $300,000) each were also confiscated. Although officers were sometimes assaulted by members within these piracy groups, the government has vowed to carry on with their quest again piracy.