Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

Still no relief for ISPs and LDIs from PTC

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Dawn reports two meetings between PTCL, Ministry of IT and industry ISPs have ended without resolution. ISPs and LDIs are demanding $43m compensation for the outages in the form of free internet bandwidth for 40 days. PTCL is only settling on 10 days.

The outage itself was much longer than 10 days. Second, a single days outage simply cannot be compensated by a single day’s worth of free bandwidth since losses from a one-day outage are more far reaching than just the lost bandwidth.

PTCL is still sticking to its guns, saying they are not under any obligation to compensate for the outage. The ISPs, however, may still be liable to their customers who deserve compensation for the outage. The ISPs claim they should recieve 4 days for every free day given to customers since the bandwidth ~25% of the operating costs (others being salaries, rental, collocation, marketing etc).

Is your ISP compensating you? Should ISPs be compensated or should this simply be considered the cost of doing business in Pakistan and taken away from their profit margins as an operating expense?

Compensation demanded for internet losses

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dawn reports that the ISPs, Long Distance and International (LDIs) call centres are seeking compensation of $43 million for the 10 day internet outage, while PTCL claims that legally they are not obliged to pay anything at all. The LDIs which bring on average 10 million minutes of international traffic per month claimed losses of $7.35 million, ISPs claimed $7 million and the IT industry $3.6 million (although these figures don’t add up to $43 million).

The enraged also claimed that PTCL, instead of spending $10 million on satellite backup every year could have simply invested $20 million in an alternative fibre-optic cable.

Sucks to be a call centre in Pakistan.

KEDA agrees to cooperate with Police on stopping trading of stolen mobile phones

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

The Dawn reports that the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA) has agreed to cooperate with the police in controlling the trading of stolen mobile phones. According to the article, the chief of police Karachi says that 80 percent of trading of all stolen mobile takes place in Karachi’s Saddar electronic market, which the KEDA represents. This partnership is a positive move by the KEDA after April’s violent encounter with the local police that ended with KEDA’s top leadership being taken into overnight custody.

Mobile phone snatching incidents are getting more frequent and violent in Karachi. The Police and KEDA’s joint initiative, the m:track mobile tracking system has not had much of an impact on the crime rate, maybe because it relies on the mobile phone seller’s voluntary participation into the program.

Can technology be used to eliminate this dangerous trend without having to rely on the local police’s brute force or the local mobile sellers’ honesty?

Job Security

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

I came across an interesting entry at a blog which refers to issues dealing with IP losses and job insecurity in Pakistan. The author talks about how people are quickly employed at new start-ups, they work hard, and when the time comes for a pay cheque, they are fired and their intellectual property consumed by the “saab’s” that run the business, essentially, for free. The author then leaves us with the dillemma of a) leaving the country and working elsewhere causing the country braindrain, or b) being patriotic, and staying in the country and finding menial work elsewhere.

His arguments for what is and isn’t patriotic are also worth reading.

What are the legal ramifications for the case that he mentions? Is there any avenue of escape for the hard worker who simply wants his paycheque at the end of the day?

NADRA uncovers car scam

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

A report published in the The News claims that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has uncovered a car scam that involves carmakers producing more cars than they actually declare to evade taxes.

… the 2003 computerization of just 1,000 vehicles’ record, registered with the Islamabad excise and taxation department, has unveiled that several cars have the same chassis and engine numbers allotted already to other cars of the same make … It is believed that the automobile industry is apparently producing more cars than what they declare to evade tax. And to show their actual production matching their declared production, it is said, sets of cars with same chassis and engine numbers are rolled out.

NADRA has proposed a hi-tech (smart chips!) computerized system for storing motor vehicle registration data. They claim that the system will help counter thefts, detect frauds and help with collecting taxes/dues. The project was proposed in 2003 but according to the The News, the car mafia has blocked NADRA’s attempts to launch the project nationally.

Mobilink could be fined Rs350 million for poor service

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Dawn reports:

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has found “unsatisfactory” the reply submitted by Mobilink in response to the PTA show-cause notice issued in April.

The show-cause notice said: “The non-serious and non-cooperative attitude of the Mobilink towards the determination and directions issued by the Authority from time to time tantamount to severe violations by the Mobilink of the existing regulatory framework and is therefore not acceptable to the Authority.”

Mobilink will now be attending a hearing on June 9 at the PTA headquarters in Islamabad. If Mobilink’s argument does not hold up, they could face a levy of Rs350 million or termination of their license (highly doubt that).

This is not the first time and the last time in 2003 resulted in a fine of Rs60 million which obviously didn’t yield up any improvements. If the cost of customer support (and addressing those concerns) for 2 years is greater than Rs60 million, then they could simply write it off as an operating expense. It should be urged that they are fined the full amount this time around to have a significant impact and set a precedent.

How do they still manage to have the largest subscriber base? Why haven’t any class action lawsuits been filed?

FIA cracks down on piracy

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

Looks like someone [image] in the government took notice of the US Trade Representative’s recent IP infringement report (we covered it a few days ago). According to The Daily Times the Federal Investigative Agency seized over 80,000 pirated CDs, DVDs and audiocassettes during 6 separate raids in Karachi. 10 arrests were also made during the raids. This time the FIA means business: instead of going after smaller shops who sell to the end consumers, they went after factories involved in producing pirated media. It’s interesting to see what a little motivation can do.

Pakistan on infringement of intellectual property rights watchlist

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Not suprisingly, the Daily Times reports that Pakistan has been left on the US Trade Union’s 2005 intellectual priority rights watchlist. According to the USTR’s ‘Special 301′ report Pakistan has made progress during the past year by proposing legislation to form the long awaited Pakistan Intellectual Property Organization (PIPRO), which is designed to centralize enforcement but has been disappointed by lack of legal action against counterfeiters:

An example of Pakistan’s ineffective IPR enforcement occurred in 2004, when four optical disc plants closed voluntarily, but reopened when it became apparent that the Government of Pakistan did not intend to impose any penalties for continued activities related to piracy.

Is protecting foreign granted IP in Pakistan a good thing? Should Pakistan limit itself to curbing piracy (both foreign and local) but stay away from the more restrictive measures (DMCA, software patents) that the US wants the world to adopt?

(* It must be noted that US IP losses stemming from China, Russia and Brazil outweight the rest of the world)