JAKARTA - Nugraha, 29, was finishing up the check-in process at Terminal 2F in Tangerang, Banten, on Thursday morning (June 9) when he was approached by staffers from the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
The staffers politely asked him if they could check his laptop to see if there were unlicensed components in it. Within a few minutes, the officers found that his computer did not use a licensed core processor.
“I have been using my laptop since 2013 and never knew that the processor was not genuine. The seller did not tell me and I admit that I didn’t ask them,” Nugraha said, adding that the officers told him not to use pirated software and unlicensed core processors.
Like Nugraha, passengers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport could also meet with officers from the ministry’s directorate general for intellectual property.
The checks were part of the ministry’s campaign on Thursday to discourage people from using pirated and counterfeit goods. During the campaign, officers disseminated information and encouraged passengers to give up their laptops or notebooks voluntarily for an examination. Journalists, however, were not allowed to observe the process.
The campaign was conducted to clamp down on pirated software circulating in the country, which is estimated to have caused state losses of around 65.1 trillion rupiah (US$4.8 million) since 2014.
Salmon Pardede, the ministry’s director of investigations and dispute settlement, told the media that the government had to campaign and educate the public regularly because piracy could not be eradicated within a short time-frame.
“We have been cooperating with the ministry’s regional offices in all of the provinces in Indonesia to inform high school students about intellectual property,” Salmon said.
According to a 2015 Software Alliance survey, 84 per cent of computer users in Indonesia installed unlicensed software on their computers. The commercial value of the unlicensed software is estimated to be $1.2 billion.
The percentage was similar to the percentage recorded in 2013.
Salmon said it was difficult to eradicate piracy because the perpetrators could easily earn money from such crimes.
However, prevailing copyright law only stipulates punishment for the producers of pirated goods.
“Under the prevailing copyright law, people who buy pirated goods cannot be punished, but those who provide places for selling can be,” said Salmon.
Article 114 of Law No. 28/2014 on copyright stipulates that anyone who manages a place for commercial use and allows sellers to sell pirated goods can be sanctioned with a maximum fine of 100 million rupiah.
People who reduplicate and distribute things without permission from the copyright owners can also be sanctioned with a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a maximum fine of 1 billion rupiah, as stipulated in Article 113 of the Copyright Law.
“We put up banners at the Glodok market in West Jakarta two weeks ago. The banners say that people should not sell or buy pirated goods,” Salmon said.
He added that it might not impact sellers and buyers in the market, but he felt certain that they would worry because the government had put them on notice. According to the 2015 United States Trade Representative (USTR) Review of Notorious Markets, Harco Glodok, Indonesia’s largest trade center at Glodok market, operates as the retail distribution point for a complex piracy and counterfeiting network.