Unified agency needed to combat rise of piracy, says Gobind

By MARK RAO / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The government is planning to house anti-piracy and copyright laws under one federal agency to enable better enforcement, as the local multimedia sector is battling an annual revenue loss of over RM1 billion due to digital piracy.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the streamlining of the existing enforcement system would boost efforts to curb the alarming presence of copyright infringement and piracy in Malaysia.

“This includes (streamlining) the legal system, so that we can ensure that cases where an individual is charged for an offence can be brought to court expeditiously and punishment is issued if there was an offence,” he told reporters in Putrajaya yesterday.

“The punishment should also reflect the seriousness of the issue, so this can become a deterrent and can prevent the offence from being repeated.”

Gobind said the ministry is looking at amending current laws dealing with piracy, but added that a comprehensive system is needed in place to enact effective laws.

“Having a law is one thing, but you must make sure that you have a system which can affect that law expeditiously.

“This is what we are trying to do because, at the end of the day, the impact of whatever law you have created has to be felt,” he added.

Gobind said one major obstacle, which currently prevents effective enforcement, is the enormous number of agencies looking after copyrights and anti-piracy, where a report made on piracy is typically passed from agency to agency, believing that the other is more equipped and relevant in dealing with the issue.

When an action is finally taken, the problem would had escalated to a point where it cannot be contained any longer, he added.

In view of this, Gobind said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, alongside the other relevant ministries and agencies, will come together and determine the best mechanism to combat the rampant piracy issue in Malaysia.

This includes the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) and the Royal Malaysia Police.

One of the issues preventing the effective clampdown on digital piracy is that copyright infringements currently fall under the purview of KPDNHEP and not MCMC. The Copyright Act 1987 is also perceived as ill-equipped in dealing with the rise of piracy in today’s digital age.