Malaysian faces prison for rip-off ringtones

Malaysia's copyright police take hammer to crack walnut

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Malaysia's Star newspaper is reporting what seems to be the world's first case of someone being arrested for selling mobile phone ringtones illegally.

The paper reports that a 24-year-old man was arrested in a Penang shopping centre in an operation by the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia and the state Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry enforcement division.

Apparently, he's likely to be charged under the country's copyright law and faces a fine of between RM2,000 and RM20,000 (£284 - £2,840) for each of the 4,000 plus ringtones in question. That could add up to a hefty sum, with a possible five-year jail term on top.

And the recording industry bodies worldwide wonder why they're getting a bad name. J Mark Lytle