Take them off shelves or face charges in court says Municipal Department
Bandar Seri Begawan - A number of DVD/CD shops that have continued to defy warning notices issued to them for selling pirated movies, music and games have either received or will receive a final warning notice of clearance order served by the law enforcement unit of the BSB Municipal Department.
As a follow-up to "Operasi Lanun" which started early this year, the law enforcement unit of the BSB Municipal Department on Saturday conducted routine checks on DVD/CD shops under its jurisdiction.
The shops which were found to be selling pirated copies of movies and music, despite being issued with notices, were issued clearance order, which is a final warning to clear the pirated movies and CDs within two weeks or risk their business or miscellaneous license being revoked or terminated.
Working with the Attorney-General's Chambers, the shops that continue to defy the instruction of the BSB Municipal Department will face charges in court within a month after their licences have been revoked.
"Opersi Lanun" was started in the middle of February this year and notices of warning were issued by the BSB Municipal Department, the department which issues miscellaneous (business) licence and also has the authority to revoke the licence.
The notices of warning stated that the shops have allegedly committed an offence under the Broadcasting Act and Intellectual Property Right.
The notice gave shop owners time from three days to two weeks to clear their pirated items based on the size of the shop. The notices were also forwarded to the Commissioner of Police and the Royal Customs and Excise Department.
Even convenience shops that sell pirated movies were not spared as the enforcement officials ordered the shops to clear the pirated items from their shelves. However, more than one month after the warning notices were served, many of the DVD/CD shops have been found to be selling copies of pirated movies and music at throwaway prices.
The law enforcement unit of the BSB Municipal Department was left with no option but to serve a final warning to the shops found in defiance of the warning notice.
The 'Special 301' Report from the United States Trade Representative's Office has said that Brunei remains on the watch list in 2012 but the Sultanate has made progress in 2011 by establishing its first Patent Registry Office (PRO), and authorities also recently issued notices warning some retailers to remove pirated and counterfeit goods off the shelves.
The report reads: "The United States hopes that such actions will lead to a significant and permanent reduction in Brunei's high piracy and counterfeiting rates.
"Further, rights holders have established an organisation to assist law enforcement officials in their efforts, and to assist the Bruneian Authors and Composers Association, which is actively negotiating with television and radio broadcasters for payment of music royalties due."
However, the United States remains concerned that Brunei has not enacted pending copyright amendments, and IPR enforcement authorities still lack ex-officio authority.
It was suggested in the report that Brunei should also take steps to further educate its business community on IPR and to improve its enforcement efforts, including by pursuing criminal prosecutions, imposing deterrent-level sentences, and ensuring that enforcement officials have adequate resources.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin