Hong Kong Customs today (September 17) reminds computer shop owners that selling pirated software in the course of any trade or business is a criminal offence.
Under the Copyright Ordinance, anyone who knowingly uses pirated software in business or sells the pirated software in the course of any trade or business commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and an imprisonment for four years.
In June, a 36-year-old male computer shop owner was sentenced at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts to five-month imprisonment for having infringed the Copyright Ordinance and sold computer installed with unlicensed software.
This is the first time that a jail term was imposed on such cases, and the penalty has been the heaviest imposed so far.
On March 13, Customs officers raided the concerned computer shop in Yuen Long and found that the shop owner sold computers installed with unlicensed software.
During the operation, they seized 27 pirated software discs and a set of computer installed with unlicensed software, worth about $5,000. The pirated software included that for operating system and office application.
Hong Kong Customs will continue its stringent anti-piracy enforcement for the protection of intellectual property rights, a spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department stressed.
Ends/Wednesday, September 17, 2008