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Singapore Police raids construction company for using illegal software

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 12, 2013
BSA, the leading global advocate for the software industry, has hailed swift action by SPF

The Singapore Police Force conducted a successful raid on a China-headquartered building and construction company on 11 November for suspected use of illegal software.

Police seized 48 computers and two servers along with suspected infringing software valued at approximately S$125,000 at its Singapore operations, including titles such as Microsoft Windows and Office, according a statement by BSA.

The unnamed company that was raided has offices in the US and Hong Kong.

The raid is the first Anti-Piracy police action against a company since 2011.

The SPF has called on businesses to conduct immediate software checks to ensure that their software in both local and foreign branch offices is legal and licensed.

BSA, the leading global advocate for the software industry, has hailed swift action by SPF. "Businesses expose themselves to the danger of severe criminal penalties and civil redress from copyright holders if they persist in using infringing software for commercial advantage. It is a risk that is not worth taking," said Tarun Sawney, BSA's Senior Director of Anti-Piracy, Asia-Pacific.

"Additionally, businesses with branch operations in other locations or geographies are only going to find themselves under a widening net of investigations and facing greater scrutiny. It is imperative that they ensure all operations, wherever they are located, are using licensed and legal software," added Sawney.

Under Singapore's amended Copyright Act, first-time offenders face a maximum fine of S$20,000 and/or a maximum jail term of six months, or both. In addition, the Act allows for statutory damages to be claimed by a copyright owner against infringers in a civil case.

According to BSA's 9th Annual Global Software Piracy Study, conducted by independent research firm IDC, Singapore had a PC software piracy rate of 33 percent with the commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers reaching a record US$255 million in 2011.

Another recent BSA study, Competitive Advantage: The Economic Impact of Properly Licensed Software, conducted by business school INSEAD, found that increasing the use of properly licensed software by just 1 percent would generate an estimated US$312 million in Singapore's national production, while a similar increase in the use of pirated software would add at most US$72 million - but, in fact, there is no reliable statistical evidence that pirated software adds any value at all. This means Singapore captures at least a US$240 million advantage with each percentage-point increase in lawful software use, said BSA in a statement.


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