RM20mil fine for illegally downloading 10,000 songs
Thursday, 17 December 2009

                                                                                                           The Star  Online

PENANG: A bistro owner in Seberang Jaya faces a fine of up to RM20mil under the Copy­right Act 1987 for loading 10,000 foreign and local songs into his karaoke set.

The 49-year-old man, who opened his bistro just two months ago, was nabbed by the Penang branch of the Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consu­merism Minis­try yesterday.

If convicted, he can be fined up to RM2,000 for each song loaded into the karaoke set or jailed up to five years, or both.

Enforcement chief M. Guna­selan said a karaoke set worth RM50,000 was also seized from the bistro at Jalan Todak.

He said the raid was conducted following complaints from both the Recording Industry Asso­ciation of Malaysia (RIM) and Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd, adding that it had carried out 55 raids and arrested 38 individuals for such offences so far this year.

“The bistro owner has since been released on police bail,” he said.

RIM chief executive officer Tan Ngiap Foo said some 3,000 pubs, lounges, cafes and restaurants in the country were using pirated karaoke songs in their premises, causing the music industry to lose at least RM60mil in revenue annually.

He said only 517 outlets were known to be using legally obtained music.

“Each song usually costs between RM2 and RM3. We have identified about 50 outlets in Penang using such pirated songs in their premises.

“We’ll be launching a nationwide campaign to tackle the issue.

“We’ll also look into the problem of loading songs into handphones, of which 90% are pirated copies given to the handphone buyers,” he said.

Tan said some karaoke digital systems with more than 10,000 songs uploaded were also being sold for a mere RM5,000.