Customs seizes computers pre-installed with infringed software

24 Dec 2004

Customs officers mounted an anti-piracy operation on December 22 and 23 against four computer shops selling desktop computers with pre-installed infringed computer software.

Acting on public complaints, Customs officers disguised as customers and ordered a total of four desktop computers from four computer shops in Shatin and in Tuen Mun on December 22, which claimed that computer software could be pre-installed.

Customs officers yesterday (December 23) collected the ordered lot and found that the computers have been pre-stalled with infringed software.

In addition to the four concerned computers valued at $12,000, Customs officers seized from the four shops over 600 infringed computer software discs, which were believed to be used for installing infringed software to the desktop computers that customers ordered. The retail price of the genuine computer software being pre-installed is worth about $26,000.

Five men aged between 21 and 41, and a woman, aged 32, were arrested.

"Members of the public, in particular owners and staff of computer shops, are warned not to distribute copyright works, including computer software, without authorisation of the copyright owners in the course of business when selling computer equipment," a spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said today (December 24).

He appealed to members of the public to report any piracy activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, it is an offence for a person to distribute, for the purpose of or in the course of trade or business, an infringing copy of a copyright work without the licence of the copyright owner. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and four year' imprisonment.

Ends/Friday, December 24, 2004

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