This time, the Colombo Crimes Division raided an established corporate entity in the banking and financial sector, suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software. The Raid took place in Colombo last week where the inspection and identification of suspected pirated software took over five hours. Thereafter, the police seized all the computers installed with the pirated software into Police Custody, and will be produced in Court as evidence.
Shalini Ratwatte, Consultant BSA Committee in Sri Lanka said, “Companies need to audit the software they have installed, ascertain its legality by identifying the gaps between licenses that they have purchased versus the number of copies that they have installed. A software audit is one of the most cost effective ways of managing software assets and reducing the risk of piracy in an organization. The BSA website www.bsa.org has free software audit tools to assist organizations in carrying out an internal software audit. In addition, businesses should always insist on original software, maintain records, invoices and documentation on file at all times.” Sudath Perera Associates acted as the lawyers for the aggrieved party.
The law governing intellectual property rights under the Intellectual Property Rights Act No 36 of 2003 is very comprehensive and states that Computer programs are protected works and are original intellectual creations. Any person who willfully infringes any of the rights protected under the Act shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction after trails before a Magistrate, to a fine not exceeding RS 500,000 or for imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both the fine and imprisonment.
Section 187 of the Act goes on to state that where an offence under this Act has been committed by a body corporate, every person who at the time of the commission was a Director General, Manager, Secretary or other similar officer of that body, shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence, unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge.