Indonesia tops Asia list of copyright pirate centers

Agence France Presse

Posted at Aug 25 2010 02:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2010 10:45 PM

SINGAPORE - Indonesia has the worst record when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) in Asia and Singapore the best, a survey of expatriate business people showed Wednesday.

"Indonesia seems to have lost its momentum for cracking down on IPR abuses and making the system more compliant with international standards," Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said.

Indonesia "has passed new laws that should improve protection of intellectual property, but those rules are not enforced effectively at all, and piracy levels in Indonesia remain among the highest in the world."

Indonesia was given the worst score of 8.5 out of a maximum 10 points compared to 11 other Asian economies in the PERC survey of 1,285 expatriate managers condcucted between June and mid-August. Zero is the best possible score.

More advanced economies fared better, with Singapore heading the list with 1.5, followed by Japan (2.1), Hong Kong (2.8), Taiwan (3.8) and South Korea (4.1).

At the other end of the scale, Vietnam was second worst at 8.4, China scored 7.9, the Philippines 6.84, India 6.5, Thailand 6.17 and Malaysia 5.8.

The rankings largely reflect studies by the global software industry, which is alarmed by the easy availability of pirated movies and software in Asian cities despite governments' pledges to crack down.

"Of the emerging Asian countries, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines are all poorly rated not only for their low level of IPR protection but also for such criteria as physical infrastructure, bureaucratic inefficiency and labour limitations," PERC said.

China also came under strong scrutiny because of the sheer size of its economy and the presence of large companies "capable of using pirated technology to compete in foreign markets," said PERC.

"Countries like Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia do not have this same ability to inflict global damage through IPR piracy as Chinese companies do."

While China has made strides in clamping down on IPR infringement, its goal of securing transfers of foreign know-how to Chinese firms, using access to its huge market as leverage, remains problematic, it said.

"So far many of the world’s largest multinationals have been convinced that it is worth the risk of transferring key technology to China in order to develop business there," PERC said.

"This policy is not illegal, but it could become a growing source of friction.... The more China consolidates its position as a global economic power, the more other governments will be willing to take off the gloves and fight to protect their interests."