The Police raided a reputed garment manufacturer suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software recently.
The raid took place in Colombo on 11 April. Upon inspection and identification of suspected pirated software, the Police seized over 50 computers installed with suspected pirated business software valued at over Rs. 5 million, all of which were taken into Police custody for further inspection and to be produced in Court.
The Sri Lanka Police is focused on taking action on an ongoing basis against companies using pirated and unlicensed software in their business as these companies are, by now, clearly aware that this is a criminal offence and yet continue to disregard the law.
The Intellectual Property Rights Act No. 36 of 2003 states that computer programs are protected works and are original intellectual creations. Any person wilfully infringing any of the rights protected under the Act is guilty of an offence and is liable, upon conviction after trail before a Magistrate, to a fine not exceeding Rs. 500,000 or for imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.
Section 187 of the Act goes on to state that where an offence under this Act has been committed by a body corporate, every person who at the time of the commission was a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of that body, shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence, unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge.
Consultant to the BSA Committee in Sri Lanka Shalini Ratwatte said: “There have been several such raids connected with software piracy in recent times. BSA, over the past five years, has endeavoured to create awareness and educate the corporate sector on the perils of software piracy. As such, companies, including those that operate in the global arena, need to take more responsibility by adhering to the law, and protecting the overall industry reputation.”
The BSA promotes policies that foster technology innovation, investment in the IT industry and a world where computer infrastructures and networks can be trusted. The growth of IT within economies worldwide is very closely correlated to reduced piracy rates in the respective countries.
Sudath Perera Associates acted as the lawyers for the complainants in this matter.