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10,000 pirated songs at bistro Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2009

                                                                                                                  New Straits Times

GEORGE TOWN: A bistro owner faces a fine of up to RM20 million and a five-year jail term after a raiding team seized a digital karaoke system which contained 10,000 songs that infringed copyright laws.

State Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism enforcement chief M. Guna Selan said the man, who is in his 40s, was arrested with a range of audio visual equipment worth RM50,000.

Guna Selan said the enforcement team raided the bistro in Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, at 6.30pm on Tuesday after two months of surveillance.

"Our team members have posed as customers to ascertain the outlet infringed copyright laws.

"We decided to move in after the owner ignored repeated warnings to stop using the pirated songs," he said, adding that the man had been released on police bail.

He said the seizure and arrest on Tuesday was the first of its kind in the country where unlicensed songs were confiscated from an end user.

Guna Selan said the case had been referred to the deputy public prosecutor's office for further action.

He said the suspect was expected to be charged with possession of infringing copies of karaoke recordings for business purposes.

The minimum penalty under that provision is RM2,000 per song or five years' jail, or both.

Recording Industry Association of Malaysia chief executive officer Tan Ngiap Foo said the total loss to the music industry due to the rampant usage of unlicensed songs was at least RM60 million per year.

"There are about 3,000 stubborn business outlets in the country, especially Chinese restaurants, which are still ignoring the laws."

He said Chinese restaurants topped the list of those infringing the laws, followed by pubs and lounges.

Of the 5,000 indoor food outlets nationwide, Tan said only 517 food outlets used legal karaoke songs in their businesses.

He urged business owners with karaoke facilities to use legitimate copies of karaoke songs certified by the recording fraternity to avoid hefty fines.
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