Customs officers of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau cracked the largest corporate piracy case during its raid against an electronic watch company in Kwai Chung yesterday (March 11).
Sixteen computers installed with pirated software were seized.
The pirated software installed was high priced professional graphic design programmes, such as PTC Pro/Engineer Wildfire, Autodesk AutoCAD and Adobe Photoshop. The retail price of their genuine versions amounts to about $8 million.
Two men, aged 47 and 32,who are the company director and officer-in-charge of the computer section were arrested. They are now on bail of $5,000.
Acting on complaint from copyright owner that pirated graphic design software was used in the course of business by an electronic watch factory, Customs officers conducted investigation.
Under the amended Copyright Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he, without the licence of the copyright owner, possesses for the purpose of, in the course of, or in connection with, any trade or business with a view to committing any act infringing the copyright. The maximum penalty is $50,000 fine per infringing copy and a four-year imprisonment.
Based on complaint received, Customs has mounted 105 operations since the amended legislation came into effect on April 1, 2001, in which 74 companies were found to have breached the ordinance giving rise to the arrest of 141 persons. Until now, 19 cases were convicted in court. For the case of the heaviest penalty, the court imposed a fine of $50,000 and six-month imprisonment with suspended sentence of two years.
To heighten public awareness on the use of pirated software in conducting business and encourage report of suspected cases, Customs and Business Software Alliance has launched a reward scheme to combat illegal use of software in business.
Public may report any suspected activity of use of pirated software in course of business by calling Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
End/Saturday, March 12, 2005