Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Listed firm animator among those caught in software piracy net

A listed cooking-ingredient maker and an animation studio were among a group of companies netted in the recent initiative by police offers to reduce software piracy in Thailand.

The companies' names have been withheld for legal reasons, according to a statement.

The cooking-ingredient company, listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and among 1,000 under investigation for software copyright infringement, was caught using unlicensed software products made by Autodesk, Microsoft and Thai Software Enterprises. It has registered assets of Bt260 million.

The animation studio was caught working with 17 unlicensed software design programs valued at nearly Bt4 million.

In Thailand's fast-growing animation industry, this company had gained an advantage through its reputation for being a low-cost design provider, according to executives at Autodesk, the software company that filed a complaint for copyright infringement with the Economic and Cyber Crime Police Division (ECD).

"These raids exemplify the reality that the ECD's efforts to reduce software piracy cut across a wide variety of industries and business sizes," said Police Colonel Sarayuth Pooltanya of the ECD.

"The key determination in which companies get raided is simply based on the complaints filed by copyright owners and the evidence that these companies have violated Thai law. The companies that we |are policing for software piracy often have little in common expect for the fact that they are infringing on the copyrights of software developers."

As the government continues in its drive to build a "creative economy", for which intellectual property rights are a major platform, police officers at the ECD are determined to enforce the rule of law for software copyright holders.

As ECD officers work through their case load resulting from 1,000 investigations conducted in September and October, they foresee continuous enforcement actions against companies that violate the Copyright Act BE 2537.

"This is a period of enforcement intensification, but the ECD wants to emphasise that our software-piracy policing teams are in this for the long term," said Sarayuth.

"By staying after this issue day after day and week after week, and by following up on all complaints lodged by software copyright holders, we are confident that progress will be made in reducing the software piracy rate."

The ECD has made a significant impact in reducing the software piracy rate of 76 per cent. In each of the last two years, the rate has fallen by 2 percentage points, a significant drop when compared to the reductions achieved in other countries during the same timespan.

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