Twenty raids as police continue crackdown on software pirates 

Economy February 17, 2017 01:00


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THE ECONOMIC Crime Suppression Division (ECD) of the Royal Thai Police has kicked off the year with a continued effort to reduce software piracy in Thailand.

At the end of January, more than 20 raids took place in Bangkok and other provinces.

The most significant raid took place in Rayong, where a South Korean manufacturer was allegedly caught with unlicensed software products made by Microsoft and the Bangkok-based developer ThaiSoftware Enterprise installed on 64 personal computers. 

Police also raided companies in the construction, design, and manufacturing industries during the first weeks of 2017 and found software developed by seven different software development companies. These raids took place in Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Prakan provinces.

It is in the best interests of business leaders to ensure their com|panies are using fully licensed, |legal and secure software, police said.

Police project another active year for enforcement of software intellectual property.

Last year, ECD enhanced its enforcement nationwide to support Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s policy “don’t buy, don’t use and don’t sell” products that violate copyrights.

In 2016, ECD raided 268 companies for using illegal software, representing about 10 per cent more raids than conducted in 2015 and illegal software worth Bt503 million. 

The companies caught using illegal software generally create substantial annual revenue figures, the ECD said. In 2016, the companies raided for illegal software averaged annual revenue of more than Bt261 million, it added.

The most raided provinces were Bangkok with 125 cases, Samut Prakan with 30 cases and Chon Buri with 20 cases. 

The unlicensed software found and installed are products of Autodesk, Adobe, PTC, Microsoft, Siemens PLM Software, and ThaiSoftware Enterprise. Some of these products are high-value software, which is installed in fewer PCs but with higher infringement value, police said. 

Police anticipate more raids focused on illegal copies of high-value software.

The raids occurred within a wide range of sectors, the ECD said. In 2016, the most raided industries were construction with 98 raids, manufacturing with 86 raids, architecture/design with 36 raids, distribution companies with 20 raids, and engineering firms with 14 raids. 

The other industries facing raids include advertising, consulting, automotive, retail, video games and software.

The biggest raid of 2016 happened in Samut Sakhon province, where a manufacturing company was caught with unlicensed software installed on 173 PCs worth Bt5 million. The products installed illegally included Microsoft and Autodesk software.

“Using last year’s result as a benchmark, this year ECD plans to further intensify enforcement and reduce software piracy in Thailand,” said ECD spokesman Pol Colonel Winai Wongbuppa.