Heaviest fine for corporate piracy case

19 Apr 2005

A shipping company was yesterday (April 18) fined $64,000 by the Eastern Magistracy for the use of pirated computer software in the course of business.

The case came to light on February 19 last year when Customs officers raided the office of the company in Sheung Wan. As a result, the officers seized 21 computers installed with pirated computer software.

The company was imposed a $64,000 fine at Eastern Magistrates' Courts after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of pirated computer software.

This has been the heaviest fine handed down by court on corporate piracy case.

A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department today (April 19) reminded members of the public that anyone who possesses pirated computer software in the course of business will commit a criminal offence.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, the maximum penalty for the offence is $50,000 per infringing copy and four years' imprisonment.

"Customs officers have cracked 76 corporate piracy cases since the amended legislation to the Copyright Ordinance came into effect on April 1, 2001. A total of 20 cases, including this case, have been convicted by the court," the spokesman said, "We will continue to conduct vigorous enforcement actions against corporate piracy." He encouraged the public to report corporate piracy to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Under a reward scheme financed by the Business Software Alliance and administered by Hong Kong Customs, anyone who provides information leading to a raid on a company and seizure of pirated software being used on at least five computers is eligible for a reward of $5,000.

Ends/Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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