Is the war against piracy lost?

KOTA KINABALU:     After Copyright Act 1987, was introduced in Malaysia and enforced some 24-years ago, giving hope especially to the local performing artists community.

The law came down hard on the pirated peddlers in the beginning but what was supposed to be an on going raid seem to be losing momentum as the years go by.

The end result is that more and more of these pirated peddlers now days are getting bolder.  They are not shying away from the general public and are openly operating their business outlets at the shopping malls through out the capital city of Kota Kinabalu.

This is a far cry from their once mouse and cat business operation in the street many years ago.

One might tend to get confuse upon seeing one of these outlets, thinking that most of the cheap VCDs, DVDs, and CDs that is on sale is legitimate and has the approval from the local town council upon seeing the licenses on display.

It is believed that most of these outlets has been operating without interruption from any enforcement agencies all these years.

Has the Kota Kinabalu’s enforcement agencies in particular KPDNKK (Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism) which has been entrusted by the government to enforce the Copyright Act 1987, given up the fight and making way for the mushrooming of such an outlet? For they are easily found in many shopping malls such as Center point, Karamunsing Complex, and Wawasan Plaza just to name a few.

According to a Cashier from a legitimate outlet at one of the city’s shopping malls, the enforcement agency from KPDNKK, do make a spot checks sometime but strangely enough, every time there is a spot check, all the pirated peddlers’ outlets are closed for the day.

Is this really a coincidence or is there a black sheep in the enforcement agency who is working alone on cashing in on all these illegal activities in the city or associated with an international crime syndicate?

It was once reported by RAND Corporation, an independent research and development institution based in Santa Monica, California, U.S., that pirated movies has became one of the most important source of income for the international crime syndicate which is trying to take control of the global market due to huge profit to be made compare to selling cocain from Colombia. The research was done by interviewing gangs in America, Europe, Russia and Asia and also government from twenty nations.

Malaysia was previously listed under Priority Watch List in 2000 and remained there until 2001 according to a Special 301 Report on Copyright protection and enforcement by International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a private sector coalition of seven trade associations in U.S.

With the aim of strengthening international protection and enforcement of copyright by working with U.S. Government , foreign government and private sector representatives. In 2002, Malaysia has been lowered to Watch List which is among other 23 nations, to recognize some progress made by the Malaysian government against illegal optical disc plants.

For sure the end to this war is not in sight yet, until KPDNKK comes up with some win-win innovative solutions in order to bring benefit to the consumer in getting a better deal at an affordable price and to help the enforcement agency themselves to work smarter and not harder in overcoming the issue.

The illegal pirating syndicate not only affects our local artists’ work and livelihood but also our international image as a whole and more so at a time when our government is trying to promote our Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) to the world.

By allowing this latest trend adopted by the pirated peddlers to emerge in the city and suspected in other cities as well, is like pouring all our government’s efforts down to the drain.