Copyright laws presented to parliament

Parliament today voted to proceed with a bill on copy right laws submitted by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

MPs voted unanimously to send the bill to the economic affairs committee for review.

Introducing the draft legislation, MDP MP Mohamed Thoriq said the proposed copyright laws would create a legal framework to protect intellectual property in the Maldives and thereby “encourage creativity”.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom said while the party supported to the bill, it needed some amendments: ”Software protection was not fully provided in the bill,” he said.

A significant proportion of software used in the Maldives, including by government agencies, are pirated copies. Historically this has been due to the both the ready accessibility of unlicensed software and the comparatively high cost of legitimate licenses in the developed world. For example, a copy of a popular accountancy software package that costs Rf25 (US$2) at a shop in Male’ can run to several thousand US dollars if bought legitimately.

As the bill was connected to the productivity of the country, Mausoom added, it was very important to make it as comprehensive as possible.

Maldivian Democratic Party MDP MP Mohamed Mustafa concurred that the bill was important to the Maldives as ”copyright should be protected in the country.”

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan said that the bill was necessary but noted that ”there are amendments that should be brought to the bill.”

Nihan said that there were people who had become mid-level businessmen by selling the pirate copies of softwares and other products.

‘There are fake iPhones, blackberries and other types of mobile phone sold in the market,” he said. ”This business of fake models and products should be prevented.”


7 thoughts on “Copyright laws presented to parliament”

  1. I wonder, considering how big pirated software, movies, games are - would it not be detrimental to some local business men if we create intellectual property rights?

    I mean, there is a reason we have not had it until now.

    I do believe its wrong to steal software, movies, and music - but at the same time I admit to having illegally downloaded all three. Why? Because it is mad expensive and because in Maldives companies like Fox Entertainment and Adobe Inc cannot prosecute us.

    If we are caught even downloading a song illegally at my University in the States - the first time we are charged 3,000 USD! Is this going to start happening in Maldives? Are we really this developed?

    And how come these business owners who make their living off of these DVDs, etc are not lobbying the government? Where's the owner of FORMAX? And how is this the one issue that both MDP and DRP agree on?

    I'm glad they do though.

  2. I agree it is illegal to download pirated software but I don't know if it is necessarily immoral to pirate software from large corporations.

    These large corporations do everything they can to profit off small guys and one of the things they can do is have enough influence over the law makers to make laws that favour them. (eg of such culture: how many coast lines and hence livelihoods, of poor areas of the world have been ruined by oil spills by rich oil companies. Did they spend the same kind of money being spent to protect US coast lines?) This to me make electronic forms of piracy a rather contentious issue if you can break the law and get away with it - should you really feel guilty you have stolen something from an innocent party?

  3. Mr. Salim,
    Whether the country is developed or not, you should not be allowed to steal things. You sound like, if we dont have enough money to afford something, its totally fine that we steal it? What a stupid argument is this!!

  4. The law has potential to benefit local craftsmen. More than 90% of handicrafts are imports from Indonesia/Bangkok that are being sold to our tourists with a 'made in maldives' tag. The previous as well as current govt have not been successful at all in preventing this fraud which is estimated to have a value of $6 million a year! This law I think is a positive step towards protecting our handicraft industry and our culture and heritage.

  5. The issue is not whether we need copyright law or not. It clearly is needed. What need to be discussed is for how long we give copyright and also what are the concepts for derivative works and the notion of fair use. Hollywood and entertainment industry in us has lobbied and gotten copyright length as 70+ year after authors death. And it is bound to get extended more. Also related laws such as dmca in the us is causing so much uproar.

    We have to strike a balance. Can a copyright owner sue me if i make a backup copy of the songs(which have been legally obtained) on my computer to a usb? Or what if i copy to my ipod? Or can i use software to decrypt region encoded dvd?

    the purpose of the law should be to encourage authors so that the works eventually end up in public domain at some point. Overly long periods do come at a high social cost. I think 10 to 15 year from authored date is quite reasonable.

    I dont have much reason to believe our mps have or will do much research before taking the mic to debate the bill.

    btw. Using software that one has gotten illegitimatly is copyright infringement. Not stealing nr theft..

  6. hasank,
    so it is moral to steal from (or infringe upon ) the rich? So can i go and steal from vila or champa?should the notion of justice be based one's economic status? Why not one's marital or religious or ethnic status? Whatever happened to equality before the law? If the rich or anyone has caused harm to someone it should be brought to justice.
    The riches' power can only be reduced by reducing the power of the government. In that respect short copyright (being a government enforced time limited monopoly ) length is the proper response (if we r going to have copyright at all ).

    those cases are fraud. Copyright does not necessarily reduce fraud. And fraud can and should be addressed with or without copyright law,

  7. The copyright law should purge all that horrible horrible horrible hindi copy music that is plaguing the airwaves.

    It should protect the rights of artists and should not allow people to make profits wrongly off of them.

    Also, sharing =/= piracy.

    It should also be taken into account that the Maldives is not recognized as a market.

    Corporations make it incredibly hard for us to obtain things legally. Try making an iTunes account if you don't believe me.

    Programs like Steam which allow you to download video games legally onto your system wherever in the world you are, while technically functioning, don't really lend themselves to the Maldives where the internet is either limited or ridiculously slow.


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