Event Delays Crackdown on Pirated CDs

Vendors of pirated CDs and VCDs can rest easy: The crackdown on illegal copies will not start today as originally planned, an official said Sunday.

April 1 was the deadline for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to start confiscating illegal copies from markets and stores, but the en­forcement action has been postponed, Ministry of Culture Deputy Director of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Moung Sok­han said.

The ministry is too busy pre­paring for Cultural Day—which is Wednesday—to start the crackdown, Moung Sokhan said.

“I will examine the plan [today] to see when, exactly, we can start the operation. Maybe we will wait until a few days after Cultural Day,” he said Sunday.

When the crackdown does be­gin, ministry officials will be confiscating illegal copies from all over the city.

Vendors are not looking forward to it. At Phsar Tuol Tum­pong, one vendor said the crackdown will hurt a lot of Cambo­dians who can’t afford to pay up to $30 for CDs and VCDs.

He sells legal disks as well as il­legal copies from China and other countries. But even when vendors sell legal disks carrying a visa stamp from the ministry, the vendor said a common practice is for vendors to remove the stamp and use it again, this time on an il­legal disk.

The vendor also questioned whether this law—like the law banning right-hand-drive vehicles—will be enforced.

Kouch Sok Ly, of CD World, says the crackdown will discourage tourists. He added that the govern­ment needs to find a way for Cambo­dians to be able to af­ford to buy movies and English-language disks.

Some TV stations do not pay li­cense fees for movies, and Kouch Sok Ly said he wondered why officials don’t crack down on those stations.

On March 22, the Council of Ministers passed the first of two intellectual property protection laws required for Cambodia’s en­try into the World Trade Organ­ization.


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