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Police Raid Chiang Mai Companies for Software Piracy

Two companies in Chiang Mai were raided by Thai police in connection with the alleged use of unlicensed software.

According to police, unlicensed software products belonging to Autodesk, Microsoft Corporation and Thai Software Enterprise were found in use following a two-month investigation of the companies.

Police officers from the Economic and Cyber Crime Division spearheaded the raid and searched 76 PCs belonging to the companies, finding more than 150 copies of software reproduced and utilized without authorization.  The estimated value of software is Bt2.5 million. Both of the raided companies operate food processing plants.

Members of the software industry say that the enforcement of the Thai Copyright Act is critical to their business in the current economic environment.  They urge businesses to legalize their software and the government to continue strong enforcement efforts.

"Strong protection of intellectual property rights can unleash technical innovation that is a hallmark of economic growth," said Siripat Patrangul, Business Software Alliance (BSA) spokesperson for Thailand.  "Copyright protection creates good jobs and economic growth; piracy does not."

Commenting on the case, Thai police officials say they will continue to track down violators of the Thai Copyright Act with diligence. 

"Companies that violate Thailand's intellectual property laws undermine the country's IT sector and economy," said Sarayuth Pooltanya, deputy commander of the Economic and Cyber Crime Division (ECOTEC). 

"Our enforcement team is dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of innovators in Thailand. We will make every effort necessary in ensuring that businesses within our jurisdiction adhere to the laws with as many raids as required to bring home the message."

Local software executives praised the police actions to enforce intellectual property rights.  Somporn Maneeratanakul, Managing Director of Thai Software Enterprise, maker of a highly popular dictionary product, said that police enforcement allows his company to focus on developing new innovations. 

"Our products are among the most frequently pirated in the Thailand, making it difficult to do business" said Somporn. "But with greater protection of intellectual property rights from the authorities, I am confident that we can continue to develop new products, expand our business and create jobs."

Business executives that want to limit legal and business risks associated with software are advised to implement Software Asset Management (SAM) processes.  SAM is also effective in driving end-user productivity and enabling more effective management of IT systems.                                                   

"This case highlights the risks a company takes if it ignores adopting Software Asset Management and the importance for executives of knowing exactly what kind of software their employees are using," said Tarun Sawney, director of Anti Piracy, Asia, BSA.  "Employers need to make sure that their people understand that it is wrong and illegal to use unlicensed software."

BSA runs a hotline to receive reports of software infringement. Those who report the use of unlicensed software by calling 02-714-1010 or by reporting it on line are eligible to receive an award of up to Bt250,000.  The identity of the caller is protected.  More information is available online at www.stop.in.th.

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