29 Aug – Wholesaler Fook Tai Sdn Bhd has been fined with a whopping RM300, 000 last week for being in possession of 150 T-shirts for sale imprinted with local cartoon characters "Upin & Ipin" without permission from its original copyright owner, according to a recent report by the Star Newspaper.
The wholesaler's director Yap Kien Sing, who faced a summons case in the Sessions Courts last Friday pleaded guilty to owning the T-shirts without seeking permission with owner Les' Copaque Production Sdn Bhd.
Reportedly an enforcement team from the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry raided the alleged premises with a search warrant. However, Yap failed to open the grille and left the place leaving police officers to intervene to unlock the grille and to be allowed into the premise.
Apparently this is the first case of copyright infringement involving T-shirts and the printing cartoons without permission that led to Sessions Court judge Hasbi Hasan to take into consideration that it was also the company's first offence.
"The court hopes that it will not take advantage (of others' copyright) as intellectual property involved public interest and the country's interest. It should be more careful for the sake of the country's interest," the judge said, ordering the director to pay the imposed fine or eight months in jail.
For each of the infringement copy, the wholesaler was fined RM2, 000, therefore bringing the accumulative total to RM300, 000 for which Yap eventually settled in full.