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Tuesday, May 30, 2000
Malaysia Says Cheaper Technology Would Cut Piracy


"...Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday foreign technology makers would continue to suffer intellectual piracy unless they make their products cheap enough for Southeast Asian consumers.

"It is not that we are prone to criminal acts, but when the price difference is too great, it is difficult to stop people from breaching copyright laws," Mahathir said at a seminar for Asian and European businesses. Foreign groups have complained about rampant copyright piracy in Malaysia.

U.S. watchdog group International Intellectual Property Alliance early this year recommended Washington place Malaysia on a "watch list" with 36 other countries for not doing enough to crack down on copyright piracy. Watchdog groups estimate software and audiovisual record piracy costs companies billions of dollars every year in lost revenue. The Business Software Alliance said in April that Southeast Asian countries lost $4.8 billion in sales and $411 million in lost tax revenue last year due to illegal copies.

Malaysian officials have announced plans to enact a tough law that will give authorities power to seize equipment of optical disc factories which provide the basic resources for copying audiovisual and computer discs.

"While our countries should try to enforce intellectual property rights laws, the owners of intellectual property should try to reduce the cost of their property in order to make copying less profitable. In the Internet age, technology was everything and transfers of intellectual property cost a great deal.Software, for example, is intellectual property par excellence. The hardware costs only a minute fraction and copying CD contents is about the easiest thing to do, and so there is a lot of copyright breaches in Southeast Asia. If it is cheap, the attractiveness of copying would be diminished.'' Mahathir said..."



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