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New body aims to force through legal changes

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A cross-industry group today called for the UK legal system to be reformed to crack down on software piracy. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) teamed up with groups in the music, audio-visual, retail, manufacturing and PC games industries today to form the Alliance against Counterfeiting and Piracy (the Alliance). The group said it wanted to "present a united front against the rising tide of counterfeiting and piracy." Public and political awareness of copyright and trademark issues needed to be raised to make intellectual property as highly valued as physical property, it said. The Alliance will put pressure on the government to give some muscle to groups tackling counterfeiting. "Working together will put us in a much stronger position to combat effectively this growing menace," said Anne Edmonds-Smith, a BSA representative. The Exchequer lost over £1 billion in taxes to piracy last year, according to a survey by the Alliance. It also found over 90,000 Web sites selling illegal software in Europe. "Legal reform is a vital part of the Alliance's anti-counterfeit initiative. Certainly in the software end-user market, the laws protecting software publishers are inadequate. "If we are to work efficiently with the government to modernise enforcement regulations, it makes good sense to act as one body," said Edmonds-Smith. ®

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