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Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Indonesia imposes copyright protection law to curb rampant piracy

A new law providing for fines and jail terms for copyright violators went into force in Indonesia but a minister admitted problems in cracking down on pirated goods.

The imposition of the law, which provides for jail terms of between one month and seven years and fines of up to five billion rupiah (584,000 dollars), was announced Tuesday by Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra.

Despite the new law, it was difficult to crack down on piracy in Indonesia due to "the lack of public awareness" about the need to respect copyrights, Mahendra said.

Mahendra, copyright officials and Jakarta police last week warned shopping mall owners they could face jail and fines for allowing the sale of pirated goods.

Pirated music CDs, computer programs and DVDs are easily available on street stalls and shops across Indonesia.

Shopkeepers sometimes collude with police by paying a "rent fee" to keep their businesses afloat.

A street vendor quoted by the Jakarta Post said he would wait and see how serious the crackdown is.

Several international donors, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have identified weak enforcement of copyright law as an impediment to foreign investment.

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