Tuesday, February 28, 2012

50,000 pirated items seized in store raid

The Department of Special Investigation has seized almost 50,000 pirated movies, albums and computer games worth an estimated 5 million baht from a shop in downtown Nakhon Ratchasima.
The Department of Special Investigation displays almost 5,000 pirated movies, disc rewriter devices and printers that it seized after it raided a shop in The Mall department store in Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
Officers raided the TM3 shop in The Mall department store following a complaint by movie supplier United Home Entertainment Co Ltd.
A further 8,400 pirated discs were also seized from the shop's production site in a house behind Marie Vithaya School in Muang district, Col Piyawat Kingket, chief of intellectual property cases at the DSI, said.
Col Piyawat said the gang is also a major wholesaler of pirated movies in the Northeast and usually sells disks to traders and stores in Buri Ram and Surin provinces.
Meanwhile, the Intellectual Property Department is warning that Thai internet users may be blocked by the US from gaining access to foreign online programmes or movies if the country fails to deal with the piracy problem.
Department chief Patchima Thonsanti said the US's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), now before lawmakers, would allow courts to order internet service providers to block access to websites containing pirated material.
(Actually, US legislators shelved and probably abandoned SOPA last month after a worldwide online protest, including many sites going offline for a day.)
The US is also expected to decide on Thailand's status concerning piracy on April 30, Ms Patchima said. Each year, the US issues a report on piracy worldwide, and once again will decide whether to keep Thailand on a list of the world's worst pirate nations.
One way to tackle piracy is to push for a law preventing piracy on the internet, she said.
This would help her department and the DSI crack down more effectively on piracy, which costs more than 3.5 billion baht a year in lost earnings.
Technological advances have made production of pirated movies and music relatively easy, Ms Patchima said.
"Ban Mo and Khlong Thom are known to be major production and sales bases of these products," she said.
The areas are considered "red zones" for pirated products which require serious attention from the police if they are to tackle the problem.
In a fresh effort to curb intellectual property-related crimes, the Royal Thai Police has launched a policy to have each police station make at least two piracy-related arrests a month, Ms Patchima said.