Thursday, January 2, 2014

The first criminal software piracy prosecution in Vietnam

Two software houses, Microsoft and Lac Viet have filed a rare criminal lawsuit against a Taiwanese company, Gold Long John Dong Nai International, alleging copyright piracy. The case was announced at a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City in December. The allegation is that Gold Long John company has used unauthorised software valued at around VND1 billion (US$45,000). Gold Long John Dong Nai International produces footwear for well known brands. 

Inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Public Security raided the company in June. They found unlicensed software from Lac Viet and Microsoft on 69 computers.  At the time Gold Long John admitted IP infringement. The two companies sought to then settle the case. Typically software companies do a deal to let the infringing company buy licenses and pay damages. However despite negotiating there had been "no effective co-operation."

So cases were filed at Dong Nai's People's Court, the court for the area Gold Long John is located. In addition the press were enlisted to publicise the case, which is believed to be the first business end user software piracy criminal case in Vietnam. 

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