CRIMINALIZING CONSUMERS – ALLELUIA THE SUNDAY TIMES EDITORIAL GROWS A CONSCIENCE!

CRIMINALIZING CONSUMERS – ALLELUIA THE SUNDAY TIMES EDITORIAL GROWS A CONSCIENCE!

My foot you can solve the problem by criminalizing the consumer!

Yes, Malaysia is a party to the Berne Convention, Paris Convention, World Intellectual Property Organization Convention, Nice Agreement, Vienna Agreement, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, all treaties in which we pledged to protect intellectual property!

Likewise – Malaysia is also party to hundreds of other conventions covering issues of human rights, protection of the environment, indigenous land rights and habitat policies, human trafficking, corruption, free trade but I have yet to see an editorial addressing these issues or for that matter, on issues of corruption or political abuse!

Have we seen the editorial ‘ranting and cursing’ with many beatitudes when the alleged politically connected are freed of corruption chargers or for their hand in human trafficking or let alone of taking huge bribes in approving Bangladesh and Chinese foreign workers or kickbacks in multi billion ringgit projects?

Did the same mainstream paper scream at the controversial Shah Alam Hospital which is an embarrassment?

Did they highlight the behavior of the various players behind this controversial project which is a classic monument of disgrace highlighting the sine biotic relationship between cronies and politicians and the cost over-runs burdened on to the ratepayer and voter?

Yes, the paper does highlight issues when it is politically expedient for them or when there is a political agenda!

Whose felt need and agenda and what is the urgency to enact and pass an act to criminalize the ordinary consumer for the act of buying pirated DVDs, VCDs and CDs for personal and private use?

Have we exhausted all other avenues in addressing this problem?

Why is the same self righteous puritanical media not urging the government to instead initiate a more draconian step targeted at the stakeholders and players behind the DVD, VCD and CD trade in Malaysia which is extremely organized and in my mind protected!

Perhaps, as is the Malaysian convention always hit at the soft targets and this case consumers!

The record will show that I led a campaign against the criminalization of Malaysian consumers buying pirated products!

And I am indeed thankful to the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, in particular, Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob for addressing our plea!

Yes I am aware as a lawyer that the proposal to amend the Copyright Act would have made it illegal for anyone to buy even one pirated DVD, VCD, or CD.

The proposed penalty would be a fine of five times the price of the original product and true, it will create fear and hit the market at its fattest and weakest point — at the demand level — with strict enforcement there would have been chaos and fear but it will never cripple the multi million well organized pirated entertainment disc businesses!

It will hurt the consumers but never the highly skilled, hardcore and connected players behind this organized trade!

Yes – Piracy is stealing. Pirates are thieves who steal other people’s hard work — whether through using compact discs or the Internet. So go catch the well connected mafia operators behind it!

Once you caught them and put them all away there will be no one to organize this trade and the issue is solved!

The same with the other thefts in society through corruption, cronyism, VVIPs abusing their power and positions, when politicians and individuals live lifestyles beyond their wages!

The Straits Times should declare a war on this as well with the same conviction they show in this editorial!

But no, the truth is the war against piracy was long lost because those behind it are powerful and well connected @ like those corrupt developers, policymakers, politicians and parasite VVIPs involved in business so in this case – a weak and pathetic editorial suggests an alternative – the criminalization of the consumers who are to become the collateral damage – ‘the scapegoat’ to illustrate someone’s newly acquired sense of puritanism!

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