Customs cracks corporate pirated software activities (with photo)

22 Dec 2013

Hong Kong Customs conducted a series of operations targeting at commercial organisations using pirated computer software in the course of business. During the operations, officers seized 85 computers with a total seizure value of about $360,000. Eight men and two women were arrested.

Acting on information about the use of pirated computer software by some companies, Customs officers conducted investigation and searched the offices of seven companies resulting in the seizure of 85 computers installed with pirated software, mainly operating system software and office application software. The total seizure value was about $360,000. The business nature of the companies included engineering, design, advertising, printing and catering. Ten people, aged between 25 and 56, were arrested by the Customs. Seven of them were company directors and the remaining three persons were company staff. They were put on bail pending investigation.

The Group Head (Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations)), Mr Michael Kwan, said at a press conference today (December 22) that during January to November this year, the Customs received 92 complaints concerning corporate piracy while the figure was 87 in the same period last year. The Customs will closely monitor the situation of corporate piracy and strengthen the communication with the industry to collect more intelligence. Since year 2003, the Department has joined hands with the Business Software Alliance to run a reward scheme which aims at encouraging the public to report software piracy activities.

Mr Kwan appealed to organisation directors or partners to respect intellectual property rights and not to use infringing software or other infringing copyright works. In case an organisation commits the offence of possessing infringing computer software, movie, TV drama, musical sound recording or musical visual recording for the purpose of trade or business, its directors or partners may be subject to criminal liabilities.

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.

Anyone with information about infringing activities may report to the Customs by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Sunday, December 22 2013

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