Feeds

New copyright police to increase raids and seizures in UK

Pirates beware

High performance access to file storage

The Government will fund 4,500 new copyright police to conduct raids from April. The move comes as the Department of Trade and Industry passes responsibility for copyright enforcement to Trading Standards Officers.

As recommended by December's Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, the DTI has granted Trading Standards Officers new powers under Section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. It will also give £5m to law enforcement agencies to tackle copyright infringement.

"From 6 April, there'll be an additional 4,500 pairs of Trading Standards eyes watching counterfeiters and pirates," said Malcolm Wicks, Trade and Industry Minister. "This will mean more surprise raids at markets and boot sales, more intelligence, more prosecutions, and more criminals locked up."

Section 107A of the 1988 Act makes it the duty of local weights and measures authorities to enforce prohibitions against copyright infringement. It gives those officers the power to make test purchases and to enter premises and sieze goods and documents.

The Gowers Review, carried out by ex-Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers for the Treasury last year, suggested the extension of Trading Standards Officers' powers.

"Trading Standards have powers and the duty to prevent the sale of trade mark protected goods. However, where the infringement of rights relates to copyright alone Trading Standards do not have the power to act, and cannot perform searches and seizures," the Gowers Review said. "This means, for example, that where there are sales of counterfeit CDs and DVDs, Trading Standards have only a limited response. This creates an inconsistency in the way that the law treats piracy and counterfeiting."

Recommending changing the 1988 Act, Gowers said the extra cost of enforcement could be covered by making full use of the Proceeds of Crime Act to pay for extra enforcement.

"Crimelords currently earn fortunes peddling fake goods, bootleg CDs and DVDs through car boot sales and other outlets," Trading Standards Institute chief executive Ron Gainsford said. "People should realise that the proceeds from the sale of these goods are used to finance a whole range of criminal activities."

Wicks said the UK's creative industries are said to lose £9bn a year from copyright infringement, and that the Treasury loses £300m a year. "IP criminals should know that the UK is not a safe place. Their risk of 10 years' imprisonment and unlimited fines is very real and from this date forward a markedly higher risk," he said.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Related links

The Gowers Report (150 page / 694KB PDF)
Patent Office timetable for action on Gowers' recommendations

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.