PETALING JAYA: Watching a pirated DVD at your home might earn you an equal form of punishment received by the DVD seller who has hundreds of pirated DVDs in his shop.
Under a new multilateral agreement being negotiated with the United States, Malaysia might adopt a much harsher intellectual property (IP) policy on offenders.
Called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, its IP provisions reportedly did not distinguish between personal and commercial use.
Malaysia is one of the countries involved in the TPP negotiations with the US Government, which is expected to be concluded by this year.
Internet rights and consumer groups said the TPP's IP section was a move to subject local copyright laws to those imposed in the US.
Consumers International project coordinator Dr Jeremy Malcolm cited a case in which an American woman was fined US$222,000 (RM666,000) for sharing 24 songs under US copyright laws.
A leaked draft of the TPP's Intellectual Property Rights Chapter cited that copyright terms would be extended to 70 years after the author's death and either 95 years after publication or 120 years for corporate-owned copyrights.
Malaysian copyright law dictates that copyright terms last for 50 years after the author's death.
Dr Malcom said this would mean a number of P. Ramlee films that were about to come out of copyright, including Labu dan Labi and Madu Tiga, could be locked up for another 20 years or more.