Hong Kong Customs has conducted an operation to combat the use of pirated software in the course of trade or business by companies over the past two months.
Customs officers conducted investigations acting on information about companies using pirated software. During the operation, officers searched the offices of seven companies and seized 35 sets of computers installed with pirated software including operating systems, office applications and design software, with a total value of about $130,000. The companies concerned were engaged in the design, publication and advertising business. Twelve persons aged between 28 and 58 were arrested, including 11 company directors and one staff member. They were released on bail pending further investigations.
The Group Head (Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations)), Mr Michael Kwan, said at the press conference today (November 5) that recently there has been a slightly increasing trend in the use of pirated software, indicating that the inclination to use genuine computer software was still weak for some companies. He added that Customs would monitor the situation and step up enforcement action if necessary. The Department would also reinforce its liaison with the software industry to collect more intelligence.
Since 2003, Hong Kong Customs has jointly run a reward scheme with the Business Software Alliance to encourage members of the public to report to Customs any information to help fight against the use of infringing software.
Under the Copyright Ordinance, anyone in possession of an infringing copyright work in the course of trade or business commits an offence, whether or not such trade or business involves the dealing of the infringing work. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for four years and a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy.
Hong Kong Customs reminds company directors and partners to respect intellectual property rights and not to use infringing software or other infringing copyright works. A company in possession of an infringing copy of computer software, movies, TV dramas, audio or visual musical recordings for the purpose of trade or business commits an offence and its directors or partners may be held responsible for criminal liabilities.
Anyone who encounters any infringing activities may report to the Customs using its 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Monday, November 5 2012