Software piracy is an open secret in Hong Kong. Pirated software runs rampant throughout South-East Asia where it is sold on compact disks. Raids by the police at the behest of the American government (in turn acting on the prompting of the American software industry) have done nothing to stop this activity. These raids may have been nothing more than token resistance.

The data surfaces of Pirated software CDs in the past were all silver colored, the product of the large industrial CD replicators used by legitimate businesses. I don't know much about these machines, but to use an example, the MediaFORM CD-3703 CD Replicator has a chassis that is 19.13 inches wide, 16.25 inches high and 15.75 inches deep. Although it produces 60 CDs in an hour, it is a large, specialized, and expensive machine. This means that pirating operations at the time were centralized. If the police were to raid the production facilities and seize a replicator, they could put a dent in the business. Most piracy is thought to be attached to local gangs (triads) and eventually production would begin anew.

Two malls; 298 in Wanchai, and the Golden Arcade in Sham Shui Po; are almost wholly devoted to the sale of pirated software. When replicated CDs were still the basis of the pirated software trade only one of them would be open at a time, the other having been raided.

As it stands, the data surface of pirated CDs bought today are blue or gold, indicating they have been made with CD-RW or CD-R drives. These produce CDs much more slowly but all that is required for duplication is a standard computer with a CD-RW or CD-R drive, an original, a legitimate copy of whatever software is to be produced, a printer with which to write out the CD key for the customer, and a programmer capable of making cracked .exe files to avoid any anti-piracy measures in the software.

This makes it much harder for the police to find the production facilities. Probably each distributor now employs several copiers to burn the CDs at home. Raiding the stores would produce impressive amounts of pirated goods, but do nothing to stop the business. 298 and the Golden Arcade have been operating simultaneously now for years.

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