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FEB 07, 2018 | MALAYSIA

59 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST BUSINESSES USING UNLICENSED SOFTWARE IN 2017

Seizures of computers and unlicensed software valued at an estimated RM13.7 million by Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism.

Putrajaya (February 7, 2018) – It was another successful year for unlicensed software related enforcement work conducted by the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (“MDTCC”), according to its Director of Enforcement, YBhg Dato’ Mohd Roslan bin Mahayudin.

In a statement to media, Dato’ Mohd Roslan said that the enforcement work carried out in 2017 reflected the seriousness of the nature of the offences committed by an increasing number of recalcitrant corporate software pirates in the country who have little respect for intellectual property rights.

According to Dato’ Mohd Roslan, the Enforcement Division of the MDTCC conducted a total of 59 enforcement actions in 2017, resulting in the seizures of 166 computers and peripherals (worth an estimated RM498,000), together with 1,265 copies of unlicensed software (worth an estimated RM13.2 million). This makes a combined total seizure value of RM13.7 million.

Dato’ Mohd Roslan said, “It is significant to note that the total value of software seized seems to be on the increase, as exemplified by seven raids conducted during the year where the total value of the suspected unlicensed software found passed the half million ringgit mark.”

“Of the 59 enforcement actions conducted, Johor recorded the highest number of enforcement actions conducted with 23, with seizures totaling RM4.5 million. This is followed by Selangor with 14 raids (with seizures valued at RM2.8 million), Penang with 13 raids (with seizures valued at RM5 million), Perak with six raids (with seizures valued at RM994,000), Kedah with two raids (with seizures valued at RM136,000), and Negeri Sembilan with one raid (with seizures valued at RM152,400),” Dato’ Mohd Roslan noted.

All the suspected unlicensed software found and seized were business productivity software belonging to members of BSA | The Software Alliance (“BSA”).

Mohd Roslan emphasized that enforcement actions were conducted under the purview of the Copyright Act 1987, which prohibits the use of unlicensed software in business. According to the Act, if an organization is found guilty of the use or is in possession of pirated or unlicensed software, the organization and its director/s and senior management are liable to a fine of between RM2,000 and RM20,000 for each infringing copy of software, and/or a prison sentence of up to five years.

“While no specific industry was targeted by the Ministry, it is interesting to note that many of the raids conducted were against businesses whose own survival depended on the development and protection of their own intellectual property. These included (but was not limited to) architecture, interior design, trading, engineering, precision engineering and moulding, direct selling, design and manufacturing, electrical works, exhibition specialist, security systems, printing and design, advertising, furniture manufacturing, marine engineering, automation, food packaging, etc.” Dato’ Mohd Roslan explained.

“It is ironic that these businesses would do everything in their power to protect their own creative works, but not think twice about infringing the intellectual property rights of software owners,” lamented Dato’ Mohd Roslan.

Speaking on behalf of BSA, Director – Compliance Programs, Asia-Pacific, Gary Gan commended Dato’ Mohd Roslan and his team of enforcement officers for their hard work in advancing intellectual property rights in the country through vigilant enforcement.

Gan said, “Malware infections can cause significant harm, and organizations are struggling with how best to protect themselves. A global study by IDC has shown that the link between unlicensed software use and malware is real, meaning good software asset management is a critical first step to reducing cybersecurity risks. The use of unlicensed software exposes businesses and consumers to significant security risks, besides the legal risks of being caught by the authorities. If left unchecked, cybersecurity risks can escalate into a national concern where our country’s intellectual property assets and economy could come under threat.”

“In May 2017, BSA presented RM20,000 as a reward to an informant whose information was instrumental in leading to a Sarawak-based precision engineering company being raided by enforcement officers in Kuching, Sarawak for their suspected role in using unlicensed software to conduct their business. Informants who provided BSA with crucial information which led to successful raids in 2017 would stand to receive a similar reward,” concluded Gan.

About BSA | The Software Alliance

BSA | The Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 60 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.

About the BSA Anti-piracy Hotline and Reward Program

To complement the enforcement efforts of the MDTCC, BSA operates a toll-free anti-piracy hotline at 1-800-887-800, and a reward of RM20,000* is given to any informant that is able to provide the BSA with information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Reports can also be made online at www.bsa.org. All reports to the BSA, are treated with the strictest of confidence. 

*Terms and Conditions Apply

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