Licensing firms' link to piracy


  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 Feb 2003

By SIMON KHOO

SEREMBAN: Some licensing firms and copyright owners have been found to have a hand in producing pirated video compact discs of the latest titles for sale, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam charged. 

He said this was based on the ministry's findings where several of the “latest” movies were already being sold in open premises, weeks or months ahead of their releases. 

“How is it possible that a movie, which has not been released anywhere in the world, can make its way into the country and be sold at open premises? 

“Definitely, there is something wrong and licensing firms or copyright owners should provide some answers,” he told reporters after launching a seminar on consumer awareness organised by the state Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry near here yesterday.  

Subramaniam said critics who labelled Malaysia as one of the countries in the region to be most active in CD and VCD piracy should carry out more research and update their facts. 

Citing a report in the Jan 27 edition of Time magazine, he said over 90% of CDs sold in China were illegal copies. 

He said original titles which were not sold must be disposed of by recording companies but somehow, they end up in the hands of middlemen and “scrap dealers” who in turn sell them to stores at bargain prices. 

“On our part, we have formulated numerous anti-piracy measures such as controlling the production of optical discs, confiscating and destroying pirated versions and introducing a hologram labelling system for original copies. 

“We have also sought the co-operation of local governments to cease issuing licences to traders dealing in such businesses,” he said, adding that since last year, not a single licence was issued to traders for that purpose. 

Subramaniam said that based on their estimate, some 800 “recalcitrant” traders were still carrying out such activities in open premises and efforts were going on to nab them. 

He said that between April 1999 and February this year, goods worth over RM160.6mil had been seized during numerous raids conducted by enforcement officers from the ministry, police, Finas, Customs and local governments. 

“We have issued 36,700 notices to traders warning them to cease their dealings or face the music,” he said.  


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