Malaysian bistro owner to face mega fines for illegal music download

13:35, December 10, 2009      

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A bistro owner in Malaysia's northwest state of Penang will be fined up to 20 million ringgit (some 5.7 million U.S. dollars) for illegally downloading music into his karaoke set.

The 49-year-old man, who opened his bistro just two months ago, had been nabbed by officials from the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry on Wednesday under the country's Copyright Act 1987, local newspaper the Star reported here on Thursday.

If convicted, the man will be fined up to 2,000 ringgit (some 571 U.S. dollars) for each of his 10,000 illegally-downloaded foreign and local songs or jailed up to five years, or both.

The man's karaoke set worth 50,000 ringgit (some 14,286 U.S. dollars) was also be seized.

The raid was conducted following complaints from both the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) and Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd, said local enforcement officers.

The authorities had carried out 55 raids of this kind so far this year and arrested 38 individuals for such offenses, they added.

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 60 million ringgit (some 17 million U.S. dollars) in revenue each year.

He said that they would launch a nationwide campaign to tackle the issue, including illegally loading songs into handphones, of which 90 percent are pirated copies given to the handphone buyers.

Source: Xinhua
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