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Peer Launches Anti-Piracy Offensive

27 October 1999

Lord McNally announces plans to introduce Parliamentary bill to fight intellectual property theft

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord McNally1 has today announced plans to bring legislation to Parliament to strengthen the law on counterfeiting, copyright and trade mark theft, as part of a campaign to fight organised crime worth over £6 billion a year. The Bill will bring the penalties for counterfeiting into line with other forms of theft, and strengthen powers to search for and seize counterfeit goods.

Lord McNally was keynote speaker at the Anti-Copying in Design (ACID) seminar2 in the City of London, where he represented a new umbrella group, the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy. Launched earlier this year, the Alliance brings together for the first time British industries3 with a combined turnover of £158 billion per year - or 20% of the UK's GDP.

Lord McNally said:

"Ideas will be the currency of the 21st century, the difference between the thriving and struggling economy. It is in new ideas that real value lies: to make something different, something better, something marketable."

"But what is the point of having ideas, if some cheapskate or crook can just wait for you to put in all the work and investment then copy what you do and rip you off?"

"Protecting intellectual property is the key to protect the UK's future economic success."

Lord McNally also warned of the more sinister side of the counterfeiting industry, which was estimated in a recent survey of Alliance members to total £6.42 billion annually, with a loss to the Exchequer of £1.08 billion.

"Year in year out, arrests for copyright and trade mark offences confirm that organised crime has become involved in counterfeiting. An Alliance member, FACT [Federation Against Copyright Theft], has discovered numerous instances of close links between video pirates, terrorism, drug smuggling and hardcore pornography."

"At the other extreme, some pirated goods are downright dangerous - we have heard tales of counterfeit engine parts and even vaccines."

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