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MAJOR NEW ANTI-PIRACY LAW GETS ROYAL ASSENT

24 July 2002

The Private Member’s Bill introduced by Dr Vincent Cable MP to increase penalties for copyright theft and improve provisions for search warrants and forfeiture of infringing goods today received Royal Assent. It will be in force in the Autumn.

The Copyright etc and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill passed smoothly through both houses of Parliament thanks to all party support at a time when many industries are facing increasing losses due to growing rates of counterfeiting and piracy.

Last year alone industry lost over £8.5 billion through the illegal production and distribution of fake goods with the Treasury losing £1.5 billion in unpaid VAT.

This important new law will help enforcement agencies to protect consumers from some of the scams pulled off by crooks selling fake DVDs, music, business and games software as well as counterfeit branded goods that often look like a bargain until the buyer gets them home.

Dr Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham and Liberal Democrat shadow Trade and Industry Spokesman, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the bill has gone through. It will be of very great practical value to the many creative industries which are currently undermined by counterfeiting and piracy and haven’t until now had effective legal remedies in the criminal courts.

“I see the bill as a triple hit – it protects consumers, it strengthens the forces of law and order in dealing with serious villains, and it should greatly reduce the £8.5 billion a year losses suffered by British industry as a result of intellectual property theft.”

Lavinia Carey, Chair of the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, said:

“This is an important step in reforming copyright and trade mark law. It is a relief that the value of intellectual property to the UK and the link between IP theft and crime have become a serious concern for all parties. We are grateful to Dr Cable and to the Patent Office, who drafted this piece of legislation. We are now in discussion with the Government about how to improve resources for enforcement to protect industry and consumers from this pernicious crime.”

For information about joining the Alliance please contact Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk or on 020 7534 0595