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Inspectors find pirated software worth billions

Update: June, 15/2013 - 09:35

HA NOI (VNS)— Government agencies claimed to have found illegal products worth close to VND7 billion as they carried out spot checks on compliance with intellectual property rights at 12 businesses, including two computer dealers.

The copyright check, part of a national compliance campaign for computer software, is being performed by inspectors from the Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism (MCST), High-tech Crime Police (C50), General Department of Anti-crime Police.

Recently, the inter-agency task force raided two computer providers - Hanoi Computer Co Ltd (129-131, Le Thanh Nghi, Ha Noi) and De Nhat Phan Khang Shopping Area Co Ltd (431A, Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh District, HCM City).

At Hanoi Computer, the team searched 16 computers in use and 45 other CPUs, and found 60 office applications, mostly Microsoft's (Windows 7 and Microsoft Office) illegally preloaded in the CPUs on sale.

Similarly, at De Nhat Phan Khang Shopping Area, the team found 86 pirated copies of Microsoft's software, including Windows XP, Office (2003 and 2007 versions) and Windows 7 installed in 49 computers.

In addition, a series of 10 inspections were carried out on local and foreign owned companies by the MOCST inspectors, C50 and local economics police in Ha Noi, HCM and Da Nang cities, and southern Binh Duong and Long An provinces.

Sources from the inter-agency task force reveal that of 10 companies inspected, only two were compliant and the remaining eight were in breach of the law with varied amounts of illegal software used.

Disclosure from the task force indicates that during the inspections, the team checked 669 computers and 45 CPUs, and unveiled 910 copies of pirated software of various types.

The most common pirated software programmes found are Microsoft's popular office applications, including Office 2007, Windows XP, Office Enterprise and Windows 7; Lac Viet Dictionary (MTD 2002 and 2005); Autodesk's trademark design and graphics software like AutoCAD; Adobe's applications such as Acrobat and Photoshop; Symantec's antivirus software and many others.

Estimates by the software owners put the value of the pirated software somewhere close to VND7 billion (US$33,000).

Pham Xuan Phuc, Deputy Inspector General of the Minister of Culture-Sports-Tourism, said software piracy remains a relatively heated issue and will require much stronger efforts from regulators in 2013.

The ministerial inspectors will strengthen their efforts with audits, monitoring and rigorous penalising of perpetrators, while also stepping up legal education and dissemination to help improve awareness and compliance.

The inter-agency inspectors said that many of the firms with illegal products were large outfits with large workforces and products exported to many international markets.

They said it was worth noting that these companies knowingly flouted intellectual property laws for illicit financial gain.

Despite many warnings, a few financially sound Taiwanese companies such as RK Ressources and Diamond Viet Nam in Binh Duong's Ben Cat District are said to have willfully broken the law.

Computer software ownership is fully protected by Vietnamese laws. Illegal use may lead to criminal charges. Copyright owners may also take cases to a competent court. — VNS

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