Police raid financial institution over software piracy

The Police raided another financial institution suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software. The Raid took place in Colombo on the 16th November, a leading global advocate for the software industry said today.

Upon inspection and identification of suspected pirated software the police seized over 50 computers installed with suspected pirated software all of which were taken into Police Custody for further inspection and to be produced in Court.

The focus of the Police is on taking action on an on-going 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 willfully 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 6 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 General, 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.

Shalini Ratwatte, Consultant to the BSA Committee in Sri Lanka, said, “I urge all businesses to consider the security risks associated with the use of counterfeit or pirated software. Using such software not only contravenes the laws of the country, it also exposes an organization’s computer network to a possible security breach, both from malware such as viruses as well as data theft through hacking. Such threats can only be minimized through the use of legitimate and original software.”

The BSA promotes policies that foster technology innovation, investment in the IT industry anda 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 regard.