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Malaysian Game Pirates Ringing Up Profits

Despite recent police crackdowns, game pirating remains a lucrative endeavor in Malaysia.

How lucrative? According to Gamasutra, 2005 saw 4.8 million pirated discs seized, mostly video games and movies, as well as nine machines for copying discs. The total seized this year so far in 2006 is 1.5 million discs, most destined for export, and 18 copy machines. The haul is estimated to be worth about $14 million.

Recent raids at Kuala Lumpur airport netted 8,000 discs destined for South Africa, 7,000 movies headed to Cambodia, and 36,000 video games going to Uruguay.

Police believe the increase in quantities seized, especially the vast increase in copy machines, indicates that efforts to curb the trade are less than effective. Legal production of discs in Malaysia is 9 million per year, with more than 90% of that number being exported.

Last year the ESA named Malaysia as the leading source of pirated software, with China running a close second. Yahoo reports that this year the Malaysian government is giving companies until April 30th to stop using pirated software, and will begin conducting raids to check compliance.

Although the recording industry has pressured the Malaysian government to do more, the BBC reported last year that pirated CD's may even have come from government-licensed factories.

-Reporting from the banks of the River Saskatchewan, home of the Last Saskatchewan Pirate, GP Correspondent Colin McInnes

Tags: esa, malaysia, piracy
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