Government launches anti-piracy plan

A new strategy will see government agencies working together to stem the tide of pirated intellectual property

The government has had enough of ripped off CDs, DVDs and software and has launched a crackdown on the pirates.

Whitehall is putting in place its first "intellectual property crime strategy", designed to make bringing the criminals to justice. The strategy was launched by industry minister Jacqui Smith, saying that the bootleggers are hurting consumers and costing the economy billions in lost revenue.

The strategy will mean the various arms of government involved in stopping the trade in illegal goods will have to work together better and share information faster; training for staff working on the coalface of anticounterfeiting is to be improved and an annual report published to track progress on the issue.

DVD and CD pirating are both on the increase, with FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) reporting that piracy cost the UK over £9bn (£4.9bn) in 2002 and the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) saying illegal music lost the industry £56.1m in 2003.

The BPI welcomed the crackdown, saying the increase in pirated music is a big worry for the industry and hurts musicians new to the business rather than their long-established counterparts.

Research from YouGov for BSA (Business Software Alliance) shows that pirated goods are now standard in UK homes. Around half of the nation's 18- to 29-year-olds admit to owning counterfeit products, while 28 percent of 30- to 50-year-olds said they did.

The move to deal with counterfeit goods will also deal with those making fake booze, perfume and clothes and will be led by the Patent Office.

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