$30K fine for first conviction under Copyright Act

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Giancarlo Bettini, owner of offshore Antigua-based software developer Slysoft Inc, has been fined $30,000 after being found guilty of all six charges brought against him under The Copyright Act.

He was fined $5,000 on each count. This is the first time that someone is convicted for such an offence since the law was passed in Antigua & Barbuda.

Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel ordered Bettini to pay the fines immediately on two of the counts, or serve six months in prison on each of the two counts.

The sentences would run consecutively, in other words, the total time in prison would be 12 months.

The fines on the other four counts are to be paid by April 30 and if those are not paid by then, he would be jailed for six months on each count.

However, these sentences would run concurrently.

Meantime, the magistrate reprimanded and discharged Bettini’s company, Slysoft Inc, on the same six charges brought against it.

Subsequent to the recent ruling against Bettini, his lawyer Dane Hamilton QC immediately filed a notice of appeal so the judgment has been stayed.

Bettini and his company Slysoft Inc were charged for offences under The Copyright Act, No 22 of 2003 of the Laws of Antigua & Barbuda, under Section 46(6) (a) which states, “Any person who manufactures or imports into Antigua & Barbuda for sale or rental any device or means specifically designed or adopted to circumvent any device or means intended to prevent or restrict reproduction of a work, a phonogram or a broadcast or to impair the quality of copies made commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

And, Section 46(7) (a) which says, “Any person who removes or alters any electronic rights management information without authority commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

Advanced Access Content Systems  (AACS/LA) Iicensing Administrator of the United States (US) raised the red flag and informed local authorities back in 2010.

After investigations were conducted locally, the police filed the complaint that year.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)

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