Every year, the ministerial inspectorate inspects an average of 80-100 companies and entities, the ministry said.
“There have recently been changes in the organisational setup this year among coordinating agencies, especially the police, but the actions are still very much ongoing,” said an inspector who asked to remain anonymous.
“With respect to software ownership audits, we still rely on spot checks. Whenever indications of misconduct are found, or reports and complaints come to us, we stage surprise raids without giving anyone prior notice.”
The inspectorate did not give the total number of examinations taken so far this year, but it noted that the number of inspector visits was likely to be similar to those of previous years.
Between the beginning of the year and April, the inspectors further examined compliance with laws on computer software copyright at 26 companies and levied civil penalties worth VND750 million (US$32,900).
Some of them were major cases, including raids at the Full Ding Furniture Company Ltd, a company based in the southern province of Binh Duong, where the inter-agency task force scanned 43 computers.
In addition to some licensed software, the team detected use of illegal software from Autodesk and Microsoft at the company.
In another search at the Rehab Italian Design Company Ltd, also based in Binh Duong, the inter-agency enforcement team searched 33 computers and discovered the use of unlicensed software.
A representative from the ministry inspectorate noted that punitive measures such as financial fines, non-permanent business suspension, and permanent termination of business, applied under the revised 2015 Penal Code, are very clear. These sanctions apply to legal entities engaged in wrongdoing.
“With the current tough penalties, since the beginning of the year, businesses have been taking this more seriously. They are seeking access to legal software, recommending that their employees not install illegal software, and placing stricter controls and management systems to mitigate any misconduct,” the inspectorate said.
The inspectorate said that it would continue to push for more audits and raids in the future.
“This has been integrated into the inspectorate’s annual agenda, when it comes to the audit of copyrights and related rights as a whole, including computer software ownership. This is now part of our job and we will be doing it on a regular basis.”
Vietnam has been making impressive progress over time in protecting copyright and software ownership.
Through its regular global software surveys, BSA | The Software Alliance, has shown Vietnam’s efforts.
The BSA’s 2018 global software survey for example, pointed out that preloaded unlicensed software found in personal computers in Vietnam was measured at 74 per cent, a 4 percentage point decrease compared with its prior study in 2016.
Since 2009, the BSA global software surveys have revealed that computer software piracy in Vietnam has been going down, from 85 percent in 2009 to 83 percent in 2010, 81 percent in 2011 and 2013, 78 percent in 2015, and 74 percent in 2017, according to the recently released survey findings.
These are high reduction rates, demonstrating no small efforts from relevant authorities and entities in Vietnam, according to BSA.