Saturday, April 18, 2009

More take a stand on piracy


But IP rights owners face challenges during recession


Alicia Wong,


MORE people are going for the real deal but more are also not deterred from buying pirated products or downloading material from dubious sources.

The second biennial Intellectual Property (IP) Perception Survey, commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), found that 45.8 per cent of respondents bought original products because of advertising and promotional efforts against piracy and illegal file-sharing. This is significantly higher than the 40 per cent in 2006, when the last survey was held.

On the flip side, 29 per cent — up sharply from 20 per cent in 2006 — disagreed when asked if they had bought original products because of the anti-piracy campaign. This meant there were fewer neutrals.

The survey — which polled 1,011 Singaporeans above 15 years old between October and January — did not ask them directly if they had bought pirated products or downloaded illegally on the Internet because it was thought respondents would not answer truthfully to this question.

Still, “more people taking a stand show an understanding of the issue,” IPOS director Yuen Kum Cheong said. Choosing to emphasise the positive, he added: “The good news is that more are buying original goods.”

The survey also found that nine out of 10 understand the importance of protecting IP rights and are aware that infringing them could have legal consequences.

However, that awareness does not correspond strongly with their purchase decision. Only 66 per cent said the promotional efforts made them want to buy original products.

And only 57.8 per cent agreed that “buying pirated goods is a form of theft”, up slightly from 55 per cent two years ago.

With Singapore mired in its worst-ever recession and consumers tightening their purse strings, will efforts to stop piracy be hampered? “This would be a very challenging time for IP rights owners,” acknowledged IPOS director-general Liew Woon Yin.

“But we will... reach out to say that in these trying times, it is more important to buy the original because (otherwise) what we will be seeing is a loss of jobs.”

IPOS will continue working with schools and industry partners to communicate the negative impact of IP rights infringement beyond just legal consequence, the agency said.

From TODAY, News – Wednesday, 15-April-2009


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