Tough measures to dissuade landlords from letting their shops to pirated software and video vendors are likely to be excluded from a new copyright bill because the Government considers them a violation of landlords' rights. Despite lobbying from US software firms, Peter Cheung Kam-fai, an assistant director of the Intellectual Property Department, said he thought it unlikely the bill to be unveiled at the end of the summer would contain the provisions, which are already used against landlords whose tenants engage in drug-dealing or prostitution. 'A vice establishment is a very heinous crime that affects the moral fibre of society at large. Drugs are also a serious crime. Is copyright infringement such a serious crime?' Mr Cheung said. He said action against landlords could be 'Draconian legislation'. 'Those landlords have economic rights that need protecting too.' Last week the Sunday Morning Post revealed how Whampoa Internet Zone, a software arcade owned by Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa and sub-let and managed by Wang On Group, a company on the Hong Kong stock exchange, was home to a substantial number of pirated software vendors, embarrassing IBM and other large computer firms who attended the VIP opening. Following the article, Hutchison Whampoa spokesman Laura Cheung this week said the issue had 'been raised' with Wang On but no further action taken, while a Wang On spokesman said: 'How can we check software? It's very difficult for practical reasons.' Valerie Colbourn, of the Business Software Alliance, dismissed this and said her members would be happy to help Whampoa Internet Zone management check the software's legality. She said landlords who knowingly let shops to copyright pirates should face action as well. Most pirated software is sold by 'shelf companies' with no assets and the shops are staffed by teenagers in popular arcades. A shop raided by Customs can be back in business in days. 'The most effective way is closing the shops,' she said. As many as half-a-dozen vice establishments a week are boarded up by police for six months with the landlord being unable to collect rent as a punishment for knowingly letting the premises for vice purposes. Landlords can also be fined $20,000 and sent to prison for two years.