A Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs Circular
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The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, in its Ops Tulen enforcement campaign, has noticed a significant percentage of software infringement in the corporate end-user sector occurring as a result of software retail piracy. As such, the Ministry is viewing the issue of software retail piracy very seriously. Software retail piracy refers to:

Counterfeiting, which includes fake software products made to pass off as genuine and low quality type products (pirate disks); and
Hard-disk loading, where unlicensed software is loaded onto the hard drive of a new computer for sale.

Risk to companies and the consumer
The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is very concerned that there are some dealers who are selling PCs installed with illegal or counterfeit software to consumers. In doing so, these dealers expose their customers to the risks of buying unlicensed or counterfeit software. Sometimes, innocent companies are cheated off licensed software, which come included with in their purchases, when dealers remove genuine licenses and CD-ROMs for re-sale to another party. When companies end up with unlicensed or counterfeit software, they are at risk of criminal prosecution for using unlicensed or counterfeit software to run their organisations.

Risk to dealers, system builders and resellers
Further, software piracy and distributing counterfeit products give dishonest retailers an unfair competitive advantage, thus adversely affecting the business of honest dealers, system builders and resellers who obey the law.

Consequences to offenders are very serious
Those engaged in the above activities face severe penalties under the Copyright Act 1987 and Trade Descriptions Act 1972 if convicted. Under the Trade Descriptions Act 1972, offenders risk criminal penalties of fines up to RM250,000. Senior management guilty of an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act may be liable to fines of up to RM100,000, as well as jail sentence of up to 3 years or both.

If found guilty under the Copyright Act 1987, offenders risk criminal penalties of fines up to RM10,000 for each unlicensed software, a jail sentence of up to 5 years or both. Owners of software retailers and senior management of software retail corporations including directors, company secretaries or managers could be deemed guilty of the offences committed and be personally liable to similar penalties.

Enforcement starts NOW!
As part of the on-going Ops Tulen, the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs will also be monitoring all software retail activities and will investigate complaints and leads received. Action will be taken against software retailers found hard disk loading or selling counterfeit software. Please work with us to end software retail piracy so that a clean and healthy industry is created for all software retailers to compete fairly.


Enforcement Division,
Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs


Added: Thu, 27 Mar 2003