Software pirates in the crosshairs [Bangkok Post, Thailand]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 19--The government plans to cut Thailand's software piracy level to 68% this year in a bid to persuade the US to remove the country from its Priority Watch List (PWL) of the most serious intellectual property rights (IPR) violators.
The US has put Thailand on its PWL every year since 2007.
The list carries no threat of sanctions but is aimed at shaming governments into fighting piracy and updating copyright laws.
The government is also working on a plan to discuss volume licensing for the state with Microsoft, seeking special discounts of up to 80%.
Pajchima Tanasanti, director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said the government is moving aggressively to combat software piracy.
The recently established National Intellectual Property Bureau combines 25 IPR and 40 legal agencies in a single task force.
IPR violations will be pursued under money laundering laws, meaning the state could seize money from offenders and IT malls that allow vendors to sell illegal products.
The cabinet recently approved a draft copyright amendment, pending endorsement from parliament.
"We expect the law to take effect this year," said Mrs Pajchima.
Globally, software piracy continues to rise as broadband internet booms.
In Thailand, half of all software piracy last year was conducted online, up from 40% in 2011, and the rate will probably surge to 80% this year, said Mrs Pajchima.
The Thai government has blacklisted 56 websites involved with illegal software.
Pol Col Chainarong Charoenchainao, deputy commander and spokesman for the Economic Crime Division, said Thai police last year raided 182 groups with unlicensed software on 4,573 PCs, equal to 448 million baht worth of damage.
Thai companies committed 80% of unlicensed software violations, followed by Japan-based firms at 7%.
Metallic machinery, non-metallic construction machinery, design products and automobiles were the industries using illegal software products the most.
Mrs Pajchima said automobiles and auto parts, food, property and construction will be the top targets this year.
She expects Thailand's software piracy rate to fall to 68% from 70% last year and 80% in 2006.
(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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