Taiwan's music industry has welcomed new laws that strengthen the country's fight against online and optical-media piracy.

Taiwan's music industry has welcomed new laws that strengthen the country's fight against online and optical-media piracy.

The legislature -- passed Tuesday (Aug. 24) -- gives law enforcement officials more powers to search and seize property, and recognizes some activities as crime for the first time.

Under the old copyright law, an offender needed to have five optical discs or TWD30,000 ($950) worth of infringed optical-media products before piracy charges could be laid. That minimum has now been scrapped. The new law also makes it an offense to break copyright protection mechanisms.

"We're very happy to see the new copyright law passed...(and) that some of those important articles were included," said Robin Lee, secretary general of IFPI Taiwan.

Customs officials have also been given wider powers to search inbound and outbound cargo if they suspect it contains pirated goods.

The music industry's fight against P2P services received a major boost when a P2P-industry proposed bill article failed. That article proposed Internet businesses need not obtain permission from copyright owners to sell their works as long as a royalty is paid.

Perhaps the only defeat for the industry is the scrapping of a six-month minimum prison sentence for offenders.

The new laws will go into effect after Presidential assent, which is expected in early September.

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