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Vietnamese government cracks down on software copyright

A French design, survey and construction consultancy is to be fined under the Vietnamese Law on Intellectual Property Ownership for copyright infringement. This is due to a recent discovery of illegal software programs worth about US$400, 000 by the Inspectors of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Hanoi police. Interestingly enough, this is the highest value of copyright infringement ever detected in Vietnam.

The inspectors and police officers carried out a raid on the French enterprise Archetype Vietnam Co. Ltd and found within the premises 82 computers with pirated software installed. The company’s consultancy activities are listed as architecture, planning, engineering and project management and one wonders why such a lucrative business would invest in “pirate” software. Software such as AutoCAD, Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Windows XP, Lạc Việt, Symantec Antivirus, bộ gõ Vietkey 2000, ACD Systems, WinRar, Adobe, Symantec Antivirus, Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft FrontPage and Corel Graphite Suite were found on the computers.

The inspectors and police said that the company would be fined based on Decree 56/2006 NDCP, which deals with Intellectual Property Rights violations and came into effect in 2006. This raid is part of Vietnam’s campaign against software copyright infringement, which is being run by the Ministry of Culture, sports and Tourism. The Ministry believes that these raids assist them in raising awareness within not only the companies they investigate but also the general public so they understand the importance of software copyright.

The gradual eradication of software copyright will allow the development of a knowledge-based economy as well as enable IT to become a crucial Industry in Vietnam. It is estimated that the IT industry could grow 20-25% annually with a total turnover of US$6-7 billion by the year 2010, if encouraged in Vietnam. What with the statistics from the Business Software Alliance stating that copyright infringement within Vietnam fell by 4% last year, coupled with the fact that it no longer features among the 12 countries with the highest rates of software piracy, Vietnam’s desire to reduce the software piracy rate to the regional average by 2010 is promising.