A recent article by The Star on "Tapping the Creative Juice" by giving a more protection to Intellectual Property owners has me in an unease.
Malaysia hopes to tap the creative juices of its people by giving them more protection against pirates of intellectual property.
Towards this end the Domestic Trade and Industry Ministry will propose to the Cabinet a national policy that would provide more stringent protection to, and optimise the commercial value of, intellectual property.
Though Malaysians in general have to learn to respect Intellectual Property, is making the laws more stringent be the suitable solution?
Doing a little bit of research on the side, I decided to visit the site for the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia. Overall the site isn't too bad, and alot of important details are easy to reach. The statutes are easily accessible to save and read. On a side note, it appears that they are using the Free and Open Source Software Mambo CMS to power the website.
My biggest surprise is that Malaysia is now (well since May 2006, another loop I have been out of) a participating member to the WIPO Patent Cooperation Treaty (WPCT/PCT). Why do I bring this up? Well this is a danger for software developers. Malaysia has to recognize Patents from various countries. Similarly as a participating member of the World Trade Organization Trade Agreement on Trade Related Aspets of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO TRIPS), depending on the interpretation, Software Patents may be deemed legal (To my outdated knowledge, presently they are not in Malaysia). Is Malaysia's participation in the PCT a contributing cause for changes to present IP laws?
Earlier this year MIMOS announced that it would reward researchers for filing patents. Reward is good, but I fear that software patents may slip through, and another more recent article rewarding seven researchers indicates areas that it could potential fall under software patents.
Though presently software is protected under Malaysian Copyright Law (link to PDF), being deemed a literary work (See Part I: 3, and Part II: 7), it may possible that software patents have just come a possibility in Malaysia. Should software be protected both under copyright and patents?
Does anyone have any further details on the proposed policy? Are there other solutions to this besides making laws more stringent?