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Cablegate: US Mission to Brunei Changes Laws to Suit Microsoft, Confiscate Equipment

Posted in America, Cablegate, Microsoft at 2:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Another fine and rather recent example of US government intervention in Microsoft cases overseas

THE following Cablegate cable is from last year, so it is relatively recent. It shows Microsoft using the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to hammer on a country where-unpaid for copies are assumed to be lost sales (which they are not, it is a common fallacy) and people are being hurt after intervention from Microsoft’s government, demonstrating kowtowing yet again.

Here is the full text:


DE RUEHBD #0018 0270813
R 270813Z JAN 10

E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: Microsoft Finds Light At The End Of The 
IPL Tunnel 
1.(SBU)  The U.S. Mission to Brunei and Ambassador Todd's relentless 
pursuit of advancing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over the 
past year by the U.S. Mission to Brunei along with USTR's able 
assistance showed a real dividend this week when Microsoft won a 
landmark, first ever case against a Brunei IT firm January 26, 2010. 
 EcoPrime Networks, an IT training institution, became the first 
Brunei firm to be convicted under Brunei's Intellectual Property 
law.  The firm has to cough up a fine of B$10,000 on top of losing 
most of their IT equipment, which was confiscated in the raid by the 
Police in September 2008.  End Summary 
2. (SBU)  After more than a year of litigation processing, Microsoft 
can claim a tangible victory and send a serious shot across the bow 
to other would-be vendors and end users of illegal pirated software 
in Brunei.  EcoPrime Networks, an IT training institution, received 
a painful lesson that times are changing in Brunei.  The modest fine 
of $10,000 Brunei is seriously augmented by the loss of 90 computers 
and servers along with 200 copies of illegal software.  These 
combined losses in addition to their credibility as a legitimate 
training facility will serve as a visible deterrent for other such 
potential violators.  Senior Director for Anti-Piracy (Asia Pacific) 
Tarun Sawney of the Business Software Alliance was quoted as saying, 
"This is a reminder that even companies that use pirated software 
are breaking the law and subject to prosecution.  Businesses must 
stay legally compliant and this includes ensuring they continue to 
use only legal and genuine software." 
3. (SBU) This successful conviction and sentencing of EcoPrime 
combined along with the ongoing successes of Recording Industry 
Malaysia's (RIM) actions against pirated music, are both strong 
messages to the local community that rights holders and law 
enforcement will not hesitate to take action on IPR infringement. 
These recent improvements are directly related to the multiple 
efforts taken by US Embassy Brunei to educate both law enforcement 
and legal entities, not to mention the general public as to the 
dangers of violating such rights.  The Microsoft case should be an 
encouragement to American rights holders (like the Motion Picture 
Association (MPA)) to engage with local authorities to create a 
piracy-free environment for their products. Note: USTR 
representative Karl Ehlers and members of the MPA will visit Brunei 
February 9-10 to open such a dialogue directly with Brunei officials 
at the Attorney General's Chambers. End Note.  Ambassador Todd and 
U.S. Embassy Brunei will continue to lead the charge on this key 
issue for Brunei especially as preparations commence for this year's 
Special 301 Watch List report. 

Yet more proof that software is political and even imperialistic when it wants to. Brunei would be better off respecting Free software and not so-called “IPR”.

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