Singapore Court sentences movie pirate to 15 months’ jail

Mumbai: On 8 October, Lee Eng Seng, aged 50 was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to selling illegal DVDs, computer softwares and games.

Lee is the second person the Court has sent to prison as a result of a raid conducted by Intellectual Property Rights Branch (IPRB) officers on a pirate retail outlet in Clementi in May this year. The first, shop owner Choy Kum Weng, aged 42, was sentenced on June 25, 2008 to 39 months’ jail after pleading guilty to the same offences under the Singapore Films and Copyright Acts. Choy received a higher sentence as he was also linked to an earlier raid of another shop in Clementi selling pirated discs in October 2007.

More than 6,000 pirated discs were seized by IPRB during the raid in May.  Among them were 114 DVDs, 32 of which were MPA member companies’ titles including "There Will Be Blood", "Vantage Point" and "Funny Games".

"This is the level of sentencing that has proven extremely effective in deterring pirate syndicates from operating in Singapore" said Motion Picture Association president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.  "Coupled with IPRB’s aggressive enforcement strategy and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore’s extensive education efforts, Singapore has certainly set the gold standard in tackling piracy in the Asia-Pacific region."