Author Topic: ripple-on effect to Thailand could be devastating  (Read 549 times)

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Offline thaiga

ripple-on effect to Thailand could be devastating
« on: August 19, 2012, 02:18:24 PM »
US software piracy chase could see Thai companies sink

The United States is launching a groundbreaking crackdown on companies it does business with that use illegal software _ and the ripple-on effect to Thailand could be devastating

Thai companies using pirated software that export their products to the US could be crippled by a law aimed at targeting the use of illegal IT.

The Unfair Competition Act (UCA) is being harnessed primarily to take action against US importers of pirated software and products created using it. Those importers will face heavy penalties unless they desist from profiteering from cheap, illegal imports.

At 26.4 billion baht, the commercial value of pirated software in Thailand is almost triple that of the annual sales of legal products.

The most damaging impact is likely to be on local companies exporting illegal software and products created using pirated software to the US. Companies that have been found to be using pirated software in other aspects of their business also face penalties. They stand to face the prospect of having their products blacklisted as well as facing damages claims for using unauthorised IT products.

Attorney Wiramrudee Mokkhavesa from law firm Tilleke & Gibbins' Intellectual Property Department warned Thai manufacturers and exporters that American companies had already started taking legal action which would increase this year.

"Companies and attorneys-general in the US have already started sending notices to many Thai manufacturers warning them to replace stolen IT," he said. "It is expected that legal proceedings against those lawbreakers are due this year".

The UCA _ covering unauthorised use and sale of both hardware and software _ was first introduced in the southern US state of Louisiana in June 2010. It has since been enacted in 36 states and three territories in varying forms and similar legislation is being considered by some European countries, Tilleke & Gibbins said.

Under the law, the attorney-general of a state and the owners of the IT copyright can take action against companies both inside and outside the United States who use pirated copies if the original product is marketed or sold in the US. The copyright owners will first issue a notice to the offending companies to replace the illegal product within 90 days or face punitive measures including paying damages, having their products seized and being blacklisted.

In the case of a company outside the US being penalised, the importer of the foreign products would also face a damages claim.

Under this law, a directly competing manufacturer inside or outside the US, the attorney-general of the state and the owners of the IT are entitled to file suits against companies that use illegitimate IT in the manufacture, distribution, marketing or sale of products sold or offered for sale in the US. Given that the use of pirated software in Thailand is high for both personal and industrial purposes, replacing illegal IT would have a massive financial impact on manufacturers and exporters in the country. In a 2011 survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in Thailand, 74% of computer users admitted to acquiring pirated software. The Royal Thai Police's Economic Crime Suppression Division said that complaints of stolen IT use are lodged against 1,000 to 2,000 companies each year.
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