Three strikes for Malaysia?

Malaysiakini has an exclusive interview with Ismail Sabri, minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, about his proposed amendments to the Copyright Act to include harsher punishments for those caught infringing, including cutting off their internet access (article is behind a paywall). Also,

… anyone caught downloading illegally could face a minimum fine of RM250,000 under the Copyright Act.

The article is vague on the details of the proposed amendments but it does say that it may "follow the South Korean model". I did some googling and found that apparently they are the first country to have the now infamous "three strikes" laws against file-sharing. No further details on how infringements will be identified and whose responsibility that will be.

Earlier this year there was news that they were considering criminalising the possession of even a single pirated DVD (the Bernama link there is dead though). So that's probably going to be in there as well. I am not a lawyer but I think under current laws (PDF. Quote below found on page 35) the possession of pirated material for private use is not an offence:

Section 41. Offences.
  1. Any person who during the subsistence of copyright in a work or performers' right -
    1. makes for sale or hire any infringing copy;
    2. sells, lets for hire or by way of trade, exposes or offers for sale or hire any infringing copy;
    3. distributes infringing copies;
    4. possesses, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, any infringing copy;
    5. by way of trade, exhibits in public any infringing copy;
    6. imports into Malaysia, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, an infringing copy;

  2. For the purposes of paragraphs (a) to (f) of subsection (1), any person who has in his possession, custody or control three or more infringing copies of a work or recording in the same form shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to be in possession of or to import such copies otherwise than for private or domestic use.

Interesting, no? As for why these amendments are being put into place:

In just 10 years revenue has plummeted six-fold, with record companies reporting total earnings of RM57 million in 2008, a paltry sum compared to RM315 million in 1997.

Here's something to consider: maybe the record industry is making less money because they are putting out crappy music (I know the article is talking about movies, but the same principles apply I think).

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