Thursday, 3 July, 2003

Malaysia targets CD pirates

By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Malaysia

Music, film and software industry representatives are due to meet Malaysia's trade minister on Thursday to discuss his plans to fix the price of their products.
The government says the high price of music, video and software CDs is partly to blame for the growth of piracy in Malaysia - a notion the industries reject.
The cost of making a blockbuster is passed on to consumers
Until recently, pirated CDs were rife in Malaysia.
A police operation has closed the criminals down - but the Malaysian Government wants a long-term solution to the problem.
The top official in the trade ministry says he thinks the gap between the $1 price for an illegally-copied movie and $10 or more for the genuine article is too high, even taking overheads into account.
The government is proposing to fix music, video and software prices just as it does those of chickens, petrol and other essentials.
It says if the industries do not come up with a formula at the meeting, then the government will.
Industry groups point out that pirates copying Lord of the Rings only have to pay pennies for blank discs, not the $270m cost of making the movies.
Meanwhile, the government has said it wants to check the company accounts of producers so it can determine how much profit they should make.
Software industry sources told the BBC that major players such as Microsoft could pull out of Malaysia entirely rather than accept such an intrusion and a breach of their global pricing policies.