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 Increase in the number of copyright offenders prosecuted, report says

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PostSubject: Increase in the number of copyright offenders prosecuted, report says   Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:37 pm


The number of individuals found guilty of violating UK copyright laws has increased, according to a report into intellectual property (IP) crime.



A total of 563 people were successfully prosecuted for offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) in 2009, a rise from 478 individuals in 2008, according to the report.

The CDPA states that "copyright in a work is infringed by a person who without the licence of the copyright owner does, or authorises another to do, any of the acts restricted by the copyright".

"The number of copyright cases continue to grow year on year and the 2009 figure is more than double that of 2006. 75% of all copyright cases resulted in a positive conviction," the annual report (70-page / 3.2MB PDF) into IP crime by the IP Crime Group said.

The IP Crime Group was formed by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in 2004. The group coordinates with Government, law enforcement agencies and industry groups to combat against piracy and counterfeiting activity.

A fall in the number of people convicted of infringing UK trade mark laws meant the overall number of successfully prosecuted IP criminals fell to 1364 from 1391 in 2008, it said. Overall 80% of criminal cases under trade mark and copyright laws resulted in guilty verdicts, the report said.

Although the number criminals convicted under the UK's Trade Mark Act (TMA) fell for the fourth successive year, trademark offences are still more prevalent than copyright crimes and that will continue to be the case, the report said.

Under the provisions of the TMA it is illegal to use an identical trade mark sign to one already registered for the same purpose. It is also illegal to use a similar or identical sign to one trade marked already for identical or similar purposes if there is "a likelihood of confusion" from the public's perspective, including associating the sign with the trade mark.

The TMA also states that a trader infringes a registered trade mark if they use a sign " identical with or similar to the trade mark" and "used in relation to goods or services which are not similar to those for which the trade mark is registered" where the use of the sign "without due cause, takes unfair advantage of, or is detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute" of a UK trade mark that has a reputation.

"It remains more likely that criminal prosecution will primarily be focused around trade marks, as the proof of existence and use of a trade mark is easier to establish compared with that of copyright protected material," the report said.

Instances where digital music products have been seized more than doubled in the year up to 31 March 2011 compared to the 12 months previously, according to figures in the report provided by the British Recorded Music Industry Anti-Piracy Unit.

"There is a significant increase in the total number of products seized compared to the previous year (+72%) with a clear indication of shift between physical products (CD related products are down 31%) and digital products (151% increase)," the report said.

The report said that IP criminals are taking advantage of the fact that there is public demand for fake goods and because there is a perception that they can make high profits with little risk of being caught.

Speedier internet access and "overly bureaucratic and time consuming" anti-counterfeit activities are also being exploited by IP criminals, whilst some involved in online digital piracy are driven on by the belief that all media should be free, the report said. IP criminals are also exploiting the fact that there is not one single authority taking overall responsibility for combating piracy and counterfeiting activity, it said.

"Many different stakeholders are involved in combating IP crime and, with no single body responsible for the coordination and tasking of activity, it becomes difficult to effectively manage the response, resulting in opportunities being missed or duplication of effort," the report said.

The report warned of increased instances of fake medicines, alcohol and electrical products appearing and said that a crackdown has begun on illicit trading on the back of the Olympics brand ahead of the London Olympics next year.

“The selling of counterfeited goods and pirated material harms the UK economy, while some fake goods can be dangerous to unwary consumers," Baroness Wilcox said in an IPO statement.

“The Government is committed to tackling these issues. We have a dedicated intellectual property crime team who are specialists in providing support to partner agencies such as Trading Standards and the Police. I am pleased to see a continued, collaborative approach by Government agencies, law enforcement and industry. We are tackling these crimes together and this report highlights many of the successes achieved throughout the year,” Baroness Wilcox said.


70 page PDF annual report by IP crime Group
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PostSubject: Re: Increase in the number of copyright offenders prosecuted, report says   Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:37 pm

New report shows successes of tackling intellectual property crime 09 August 2011 14:00 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National)

More people than ever before are being successfully prosecuted for committing intellectual property crime in the UK according to a new report published today.
Intellectual Property (IP) crime is the counterfeiting of trade marked goods such as clothes and the piracy of copyrighted material such as CDs and DVDs. The annual IP report, published by the IP Crime Group, reveals the actions that are being taken by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and partner agencies to fight those breaking the law.

The report highlights that 75 per cent of all criminal copyright cases end in a positive conviction. It also reveals that 80 per cent of all IP crime cases result in guilty plea prosecutions against the defendants.

The report shows an increase in the sale and distribution of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet and auction websites during the last 12 months, while there has been a fall in IP crime at sites such as outdoor markets, although that still remains a problem area.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said:

“The selling of counterfeited goods and pirated material harms the UK economy, while some fake goods can be dangerous to unwary consumers.

“We are witnessing a wider range of fakes including medicines, alcohol and electrical goods. However, the Government is committed to tackling these issues. We have a dedicated intellectual property crime team who are specialists in providing support to partner agencies such as Trading Standards and the Police.

“I am pleased to see a continued, collaborative approach by Government agencies, law enforcement and industry. We are tackling these crimes together and this report highlights many of the successes achieved throughout the year.”

The report lists goods seized and activity carried out by a range of organisations across the country. It also highlights the value of the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) to fighting piracy and counterfeiting. The Act allows enforcement agencies to apply for money made from criminal activities to be confiscated. A 2009 MORI poll found that over 85 per cent of people support recovering assets from criminals.

In May 2010, London Borough of Enfield Trading Standards secured an £11 million confiscation order, one of the largest ever secured by a local council under PoCA. It followed the prosecution of a local man in February 2008 after 30,000 pairs of counterfeit Burberry shoes were seized. The subsequent PoCA investigation revealed the defendant was also involved in a £72 million VAT Carousel fraud.

Other examples of significant cases involving IP crime include:


Six members of a group, who used high-tech equipment to produce 24 fake bottles of vodka a minute, were jailed for a combined total of 56 years in July 2010. More than 1.3 million litres of the illegal vodka was made in a warehouse in Hackney, East London, with an estimated value of £16 million. Confiscation proceedings are now underway.


A graduate from London was found guilty of breaching copyright by illegally recording films in cinemas. A mobile phone was used to record the films which were uploaded to the internet and made available to others to watch them or burn them onto illegal DVDs across the world.


Fake cigarette lighters displaying the Olympic symbol and stating London 2012 were discovered at car boot sales in Coventry. The London Olympic trade mark and the symbol of the Olympic Rings are protected trade marks, and steps are being taken to trace the supply of the lighters. Genuine London 2012 games merchandise will include a numbered holographic version of the official logo as part of the packaging or labeling.

The IPO is committed to improving the awareness of IP crime to businesses by providing a range of educational tools. The IP awareness campaign is supported by a varied programme of events, workshops and training seminars.

Giles York, IP Crime Group chairman and Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police said:

“Intellectual property crime is a real and serious threat to UK companies and consumers alike. This report highlights organised criminal methodologies and the dangers posed in fake products. The recently published IP crime strategy outlines plans for tackling criminals, disrupting the supply of pirated and counterfeit goods and reducing the incentives for IP crime”.

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PostSubject: Re: Increase in the number of copyright offenders prosecuted, report says   Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:39 pm

Notice the focus on the' selling of mass copied pirated merchandise.'
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