The attempt to combat piracy in the ASEAN region seems like an up-hill task. It has reached the point that potential investors are more concerned about whether their IP rights will be protected as opposed to where the most profit can be made. Thus, Asia is regarded as a destination to be explored with great caution. Investors who do explore the Asian market tend to safeguard their interest by registering their Intellectual Property Rights before they actually trade their products in the region. This is a business or commercial method which is time consuming without much gain in terms of commercial profits from trade of such goods or services. Therefore in order to attract foreign investors, Asia must implement sufficient anti-piracy initiatives to foster a safer zone to trade in.
Singapore and Malaysian initiatives of placing numerous and creative anti-piracy commercials on television, radios and in cinemas has played a significant role in educating the public and embedding awareness of the dangers of copyright infringement in the society. Due to these efforts, the public realizes that pirated goods are illegal and that it amounts to a criminal act if they are found in possession of or trade in pirated goods. Prior to this awareness campaign, most Asians accepted pirated goods as part of the norm.
Indonesia has set up mobile Police posts in areas with a high risk of piracy. In establishing these anti-piracy booths the aim is to reduce piracy activities in these designated source areas and eventually eradicate this problem. This initiative is also carried out in conjunction with the raids that already take place.
Thailand’s approach has taken more of a technological slant by using anti-piracy forensic designed disks produced by the United States government to detect copyright infringing disk production giving birth to a new era of advanced technology to combating piracy. Therefore, if an original work was copied onto another disk, a code would be embedded in the copy that could lead to the source computer used for the unauthorized reproduction. This of course would then lead to the counterfeiter being apprehended and brought to justice.
Philippines piracy rates dropped as the government played their part in piracy clampdowns causing mass producers of pirated goods to lose P1 Billion (US $24 million) in 2007. This is a major achievement for the Philippines, as the nation’s software piracy rate remained unchanged at a 71% average between 2004 and 2006.
This great achievement was brought about by the fact that the Philippines government, in 2007, had an Intellectual Property Month where the task set out was for enforcement to step up their operations and publish strong warnings as reminders to businessmen that use of pirated software is a crime. The anti-piracy team distributed flyers on the nation’s applicable Intellectual Property laws and firm stand against piracy. This is indeed a large step towards eradicating piracy as it is leading to drastic cuts in piracy rates in Philippines.
Piracy has always been Asia’s longest IP disease, and the continent’s greatest obstruction to business and economic development as it renders investors to reconsider marketing their products in the Asian market. Therefore, curbing piracy would be a battle won for the greater good and one that all agencies and relevant parties need to participate in, in order to achieve a desirable result.
There is a strong future for Asia when it comes to Intellectual Property Rights’ protection as the Asian countries not only implement the normal methods used in contending piracy such as implementing new Intellectual Property laws and regulations, they are also looking at other means that have not been practiced before in curbing piracy.