KUALA LUMPUR: VCDs, other optical discs and all computer software will be made controlled items in an effort to force music and movie industries to bring down the prices, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.
He said the Government was forced to do this because the industry players were slow to respond to earlier requests by his ministry for them to reduce the prices to help fight piracy.
He said the decision to bring these items under the Price Control Act was made by the Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday.
However, he said the mechanism of how to make CDs, DVDs, VCDs, and computer software controlled items would be worked out later.
Determination of ceiling prices, he said, would be done once feedback was received from various quarters such as the movie and music industry, and about 60 copyright owners in the country.
“The ministry will also conduct its own study. We want to see the important components in order to have a mechanism for affordable price levels.
It will be competitive and beneficial to consumers so that the music and film industry can continue to grow,” he told a post-Cabinet press conference at his ministry.
“The industry will say that they will suffer losses because the prices that we set will definitely be lower than existing ones. But if they can prove their real cost then we will check with our ministry’s experts and know the actual cost.”
Muhyiddin admitted that it would not be an easy task for the ministry to carry out as there were major issues that needed to be ironed out.
Among them were prices varied according to the popularity of performers, real cost and royalty that needed to be paid by manufacturers.
“We will be getting feedback in the next few days. We also need time to check whether the information is accurate or not. We cannot rush into things.”
A meeting will be held on July 3 with the copyright owners.
He also said that the announcement would be good news for consumers as many had asked the Government to take action and get the industry to lower prices to affordable levels.
In addition to this, Muhyiddin said the industry’s response was “not very positive” even though the Government had asked them to give their feedback but the step should be seen as an effort to protect copyright and ensure that the industry continued to grow.
On the current raids by the ministry and Home Ministry enforcement officers, and the police, Muhyiddin said that all the relevant authorities would continue to be vigilant.
From May 12 until yesterday, 483,914 CDs and VCDs worth RM3,568,090 were seized by the ministries. The police seized more than 2.5 million CDs and VCDs worth RM25mil.
Muhyiddin revealed that nine illegal factories were crippled and machines worth RM21mil confiscated.
Six licensed factories are being investigated for suspicion of manufacturing pirated optical discs.
Investigations into two of these factories have been completed. Their licences will not be renewed.
He also said that copyright owners or their agents had three weeks left to make sure all their optical disc products had the original label from July 15.
Application for the labels can be done through ministry’s branch offices at 10sen each until July 14. After that, the labels will cost 20sen.
“All applications must have an affidavit or statutory declaration to confirm copyright ownership.
“For imported products, they also have to give a permission letter from the copyright owner,” he added.