KUALA LUMPUR: Several licensed optical disc manufacturers are being investigated for producing pirated and pornographic video compact discs (VCDs) in the on-going and unrelenting crackdown on piracy.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry enforcement director-general Abdullah Nawawi Mohamed said the investigation follows the detection of seized VCDs and compact discs (CDs) bearing the standard identification (SID) code of the manufacturers.
The majority of pirated VCDs seized during the nationwide crackdown against pirated and pornographic VCD peddlers have standard identification codes but these have been tampered with.
There were a lot of VCDs with the SID codes erased from the discs.
This means that licensed manufac
turers have produced them, he told reporters after raids at a shoplot used to store pirated and pornographic VCDs, CDs and digital versatile discs (DVDs) at the Phoenix Business Park and a retail outlet in Phoenix Plaza in Cheras, here, yesterday.
Abdullah Nawawi said there were also many pirated VCDs and CDs without SID codes, which meant that the discs could have been produced by illegal factories.
The CDs and VCDs with erased SID codes will be sent for forensic tests to find out which manufacturers are the culprits, he said, adding that those found involved in piracy could have their licences revoked.
There are 41 licensed optical disc manufacturers in the country.
Today is the deadline for a two-week nationwide crackdown to wipe out the sale, distribution and manufacture of pirated and pornographic VCDs.
On May 26, the first day of the crackdown, City police scored their biggest success when they seized over 1.5 million copies of pirated DVDs for game consoles and 140 master copies worth over RM22.5mil in Cheras.
Abdullah Nawawi said the ministry would be able to assess the success of the nationwide crackdown by next week.
He said the ministry was also acting against individuals producing pirated CDs and VCDs on CD writers and burners.
This will be the challenge we have to face in future as CD burners are easy to use, either in the office or at home, to produce VCDs and CDs in big numbers.
We will have to depend on the public to inform us where the machines are kept to mass produce pirated VCDs and CDs, he said.
Abdullah Nawawi said there had been a drop in the number of VCD, CD and DVD traders operating from permanent premises this month compared to last month.
There are now 1,900 permanent premises selling VCDs, CDs and DVDs compared with 2,100 last month.
As for stubborn traders operating in open areas, he said, there were at least 300 of them operating for one or two hours each day to avoid detection.
He said the fact that pirated VCDs were no longer easily available was an indication that the first phase of the cleanup was successful.
From January until today, he said, the ministry had confiscated at least 3.5 million VCDs worth RM25mil.
In a related case, R. Kanan, 41, an executive of a telecommunications firm, pleaded guilty in a magistrate's court in Shah Alam on Friday to possessing 503 pornographic VCDs. He is released on a RM5,000 bail pending sentencing on July 29.
He faces a fine of up to RM50,000 or a five-year jail term or both upon conviction.