MP Announces Choice of Private Members' Bill
Following his success in the Private Members' Bill ballot, Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, announced today that he plans to present the Copyright, etc. and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill to Parliament on the 17th January 2001.
The Bill has three main aims:
* to increase the penalties for the crime of copyright theft
Mr Miller said: "Counterfeiting and piracy costs British industry over £8 billion each year, the Treasury over £1 billion in lost revenues annually and funds organised crime. There has been an increase in counterfeiting and piracy in recent years and it is clear that a stronger deterrent is needed.
"My Bill aims to bring the maximum penalty for copyright theft into line with that for trade mark offences. The Bill also aims to improve police powers to enable them to obtain search warrants where copyright infringement is suspected.
"Finally, the Bill would ensure that forfeiture of proven illicit material could be sought in the criminal courts in respect of all offences, even where a prosecution cannot be brought, bringing legislation into line with the existing provision for trade marks.
"In many respects Britain leads the world in the creative industries, be it making films, television or video content, music, entertainment or business software, or creating and managing global brands in manufactured goods. Yet our record as a leader in these fields is increasingly jeopardised by those who wait for others to invest time and money in a product, then steal the idea or make illegal copies, just as if they were stealing the product itself."
Supporting the Bill, Consumer Affairs Minister Dr Kim Howells said: "I am delighted that Andrew Miller is taking forward this important Bill to crack down on the criminals who are flooding our marketplace with counterfeit goods. Counterfeiting and copyright piracy are serious issues for us all, costing jobs, funding organised crime and cheating the public. By making sure there are no loopholes in the law, we can give consumers and businesses the protection they deserve."
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