New Enforcement Campaign Launched Following Hike In Infringing Activities

International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in its recent annual press release announced an increase in the damage suffered by United States business due to copyrights infringement in Indonesia during the year 2008, to the amount of US$ 322 million from US$ 278,2 million in the previous year.

Infringement of computer software for business purpose allegedly contributed much larger portion of the hike as such programs alone booked around US$ 302 million, or about 86% of the total damage accumulated by the industry. In view of this fact, the Association, which represents six copyright-related US-based-industry associations in Indonesia, recommends to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to put Indonesia back into the Priority Watch List.

The year 2006 saw USTR decision to improve Indonesia’s standing in the Special 301 Watch List an examination review indicated that IPR protection in the country can be regarded as adequate and effective, as the local authorities efforts against illegal production and sales of pirated optical discs had been intensified significantly. Sustainability and continuation of such measures is indeed essential to keep from returning to the unfavorable position of the List.

Increase in the amount of loss caused by copyright-infringing activities did occur despite continued and ever-strengthening efforts by Indonesian law enforcement agencies and authorities in waging war against IPR infringers. According to the Indonesian Police Force, POLRI, in 2008 there were 200 instances of enforcement actions that brought down 258 suspects as well as confiscated 2,8 million infringing optical discs. This was, to be noted, a down-size from the 2007 results, during which 741 suspects and 2 million pieces of infringing optical discs were inflicted in 580 cases.

To mention another strong signal of seriousness from the authorities, the National Team for Eradicating IPR Infringements (Timnas PPHKI), which was established in 2006 by a Presidential Decree, has re-launched an intensive campaign to bring out public awareness against illegal computer software. The campaign will last until the end of June 2009, and shall consist of several different but integrated programs such as persuading local and multinational companies executives doing business in Indonesia against using non-licensed programs for their daily operation, as well as shopping malls owners and operators from leasing out spaces that will be used for the sale of infringing CDs.

Officials of the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (DGIP) stated that while much larger portion of the loss from infringing activities so far are still suffered by foreign-based entities, the seemingly-worsening situation begins to threat and discourage the growing industry of local computer software manufacturers. There are now about 500 local computer program manufacturers nowadays, with number of applications produced is reaching 5000. In the last four years, the emerging sector has made a significant contribution to the national economy, with average share of 6,5% from the Indonesian Gross Domestic Product. Predictions for 2009 say that the industry shall bring around 2500 new jobs to the unemployment-plagued country, with USD 8 Million amount of estimated tax income.

It now becomes a matter of national importance indeed to make sure that the promising sector may continue to grow and keep it from being hampered by threats of copyright infringement. As danger is now more imminent upon the national interests as well as international, it is fair to expect that the new campaign against copyright infringement would gain much wider and more popular support.

(Bisnis Indonesia/DGIP/ps)