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4 May 2009

Brunei remains uncertain over IPR piracy issue

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Brunei’s inclusion in the US watch list of the worst copyright violators drew mixed reactions whether government would take action, reported the Brunei Times.

The sultanate was added this year to the United States watch list of countries deemed to be the worst violators of intellectual copyright laws, with Washington urging the country "to make a concerted effort" to address the problem.

The US Trade Representative "Special 301 Report" said "the sale of illegal optical discs including unlicensed software is open and pervasive in Brunei", noting "the government's record on enforcement is weak".

The report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, conducted by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The report also stated that "the government has been slow in responding to the concerns of rights holders".

A businessman, interviewed by the Brunei Times, said that he doubts authorities will start imposing stricter laws, noting "no one in Brunei benefits from it".

Keeran Janin, director of Expansys Technologies, responding to the daily’s request for comment, said Brunei's inclusion in the watch list is embarrassing. It's now a good time for authorities to take action, he said, adding the issue reflects badly on the industry.

Janin said even if authorities don't act on the issue, the addition of Brunei to the watch list could be seen as a warning. "I'm sure this is something where Brunei authorities would need to act on, otherwise, I'm sure that there will be someone coming in to take action. It is something that will eventually happen," he said.






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