Foreign firms using illegal software

Saturday, Nov 01, 2014 13:54

Tran Van Minh, Deputy Chief Inspector of the MoCST Police inspect a company for unlicensed software. — File Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub)— Fourteen out of 16 companies were found to be using unlicensed software during random spot checks conducted in Ha Noi, HCM City, Binh Duong, Long An, Ba Ria Vung Tau and Bac Ninh recently.

The value of the unlicensed software was estimated at more than VND15 billion (US$705,000).

The illegal usage was revealed by an inter-agency taskforce consisting of inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism(MoCST), hi-tech crime police, the General Police Department and the Ministry of Public Security.

Four of the companies were Korean, three Taiwanese, two American, two Japanese, and the remaining three of local, Australian and Swiss ownership.

Chang Yeng Paper Mill Co., Ltd (Taiwan), located at My Phuoc Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province had unlicensed software worth more than VND1 billion ($48,212).

Under questioning, the company was not willing to take any responsibility for using the software.

The checks involved 400 computers using a total of 1,251 unlicensed software applications of various types. The software carried brand names such as Adobe Systems, Autodesk, Lac Viet, Microsoft and Symantec.

Since 2013, the cross-department agency has increased the number of spot checks conducted nationwide. Audited businesses are often large companies, operating in big cities or industrial parks.

The checks have underlined the commitment of the Vietnamese Government in monitoring company compliance of intellectual property laws to maintain a healthy and competitive business environment in Viet Nam.

According to Tran Van Minh, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the raids send a strong message to the Foreign Direct Investment sector that the Government is tightening up on phony software.

Economic experts estimate that the cost of computer software licences often amount to only 5 per cent - 6 per cent of a company's operating expenses, whereas the risk of using unlicensed software may lead to disproportionately larger costs, due to the risks of using malware-corrupted software or through litigation and penalties. In late 2013, Viet Nam's first court case of illegal software was initiated against a Taiwanese company for the use of unlicensed software. — VNS

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