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Thursday November 30, 2006

Dealer to face music over ringtones sale


PENANG: A 24-year-old mobile phone dealer who was nabbed on Tuesday at Prangin Mall will be charged in court today for selling ringtones illegally. 

The 24-year-old dealer was nabbed at 3.30pm during Ops Tulen Muzik 2006, an operation jointly conducted by the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) and the state Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry enforcement division. 

The dealer would be the first person in the country to be charged with the offence. 

RIM chief executive officer Tan Ngiap Foo said the dealer would be charged under Section 41(1) of the Copyright Act 1987 and he could be fined between RM2,000 and RM20,000 per song.  

He is also liable to a five-year jail sentence or both. 

Tan said in seven previous cases this year, offenders were only summoned and released after questioning. 

Enforcement chief M. Gunaselan said the officers seized a laptop that contained 4,084 popular hits downloaded from the Internet. 

“The goods seized are worth RM19,936, with the laptop estimated at RM3,600 and each song priced at RM4,” he said during a press conference with Tan yesterday.  

Popular songs in various languages are sold as ring tones to mobile phone users at RM3 each or RM10 for five songs. 

Tan said if 20% of the 18 million mobile phone users spent RM10 per year on illegal ringtones from the 3,000 illegal outlets nationwide, the music industry would suffer an estimated RM36mil loss annually. 

Tan added that RIM had not authorised any dealer in the state to sell songs of its member companies as ringtones to the public. 

He said to obtain legal licenses, mobile phone dealers should contact RIM’s authorised distributors, namely, MyMix Sdn Bhd at 04-6468858 or kllee@mymixstation.com and Tappo Tappi Sdn Bhd at 03-92834025/92833720 or sw.lim @gigagates.com. 

Tan said a check at three shopping complexes in Penang – Bukit Jambul, Prangin Mall and One-Stop Midlands – uncovered 95 outlets operating such a business illegally. 

“The identities of the suspected illegal ringtone dealers had been submitted to the state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs enforcement division for further action,” he said.  


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