Vendors Ready for Enactment of Copyright Law

The word on Indonesia's streets is that police raids on vendors of pirated goods will begin this week. These raids are meant to show the country – and the United States – that the Indonesian government is committed to enforcing a newly passed law protecting copyrights. The law was created in order to avoid economic sanctions from the United States for gross violations of intellectual property rights and will impose severe penalties on violators. In advance of the new law's implementation, Indonesians flooded the countless stores and stalls that sell pirated CDs, DVDs, and computer software to stock up on cheap goods. Though vendors across the country have been closing shop to avoid the raids, many question whether the government's commitment will last. "We'll just wait and see," one shop owner said. "If the government is less than serious, then I can carry on with my business as usual." – YaleGlobal

Vendors Ready for Enactment of Copyright Law

M. Taufiqurrahman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

With Law No. 19/2002 on the protection of copyrights going into effect on July 29, Jakartans will likely have a more difficult time purchasing counterfeit goods over the next month as vendors close up shop to avoid raids.

Most of the vendors in the Mangga Dua shopping complex, center for pirated goods in the capital, closed their stalls early on Monday.

"We heard that there will be a raid by the police soon," one vendor said.

Earlier in the day, however, the shopping center was busy with people stocking up on pirated compact discs and video compact discs before Tuesday.

At Ratu Plaza in South Jakarta, almost all of the vendors selling pirated digital versatile discs (DVDs) closed early on Monday. The management of the shopping center reportedly struck a deal with the vendors that they must stop selling counterfeit products, at least for the next month.

One vendor who stayed open told The Jakarta Post about the alleged agreement between the vendors and the plaza. "All of the vendors were warned by the management to close their stalls for at least a month after the enactment of the law."

Street vendors along Jl. Sabang in Central Jakarta are also bracing themselves for the new law.

Icang, 35, said he had been forewarned about the new law and planned to stop selling pirated VCDs and CDs temporarily.

"We'll just wait and see. If the enforcement of the law is, I'll shut down my business for good. However, if the government is less than serious, then I can carry on with my business as usual."

The new law on copyright protection comes into effect on Tuesday, after more than a year of preparing the public for the law. The law provides for more severe punishments for copyright violators. A user of pirated computer software, for example, can be punished with up to five years in prison or a Rp 500 million (US$61,000) fine.

The tough new law is seen as necessary to help Indonesia avoid economic sanctions by the United States for gross violations of intellectual property rights. Indonesia ranks third behind China and Vietnam in counterfeiting cases.

The director of copyrights, industrial design, integrated circuit layout design and trade secrets at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Emawati Junus, said the government was continuing to focus its efforts on raising public awareness of the law.

"However, we will deploy a number of civil servant investigators to keep an eye on counterfeiters. What they will do is collect sufficient evidence to bring copyright violators to court," she told the Post.

Asked if the law could not be enforced immediately after it takes effect on July 29 because of an absence of supporting regulations, she said: "All of the necessary government regulations have been prepared and will be issued soon."

She said the justice ministry would work with the business community and relevant government agencies to combat piracy.

The director general for intellectual property rights at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Abdul Bari Azed, said that to enforce the new law the government would establish a team to draw up policies on intellectual property rights violations.

"The team will also monitor the enforcement of laws on copyright protection," he said.

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