Stop! representatives meet European officials on piracy menace

MUMBAI: Representatives from seven US government agencies are meeting European Commission officials to discuss anti-piracy initiatives.

This is the second leg of the Strategy Targetting Organised Piracy (Stop!) initiative. Stop is an attempt to dry up the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, which is estimated at over $600 billion per year. Stop will target large-scale operations as opposed to individual file traders. In addition, the US is looking to apply pressure on foreign governments where piracy is rampant.

Among the tools to be used by Stop! are the publication of annual lists of foreign companies profiting from pirated goods, targeting organised criminal groups involved in piracy, and overhauling US intellectual property laws.

Stop! states that its outreach to Europe marks the continuation of the Administrations sustained global effort to build international cooperation against piracy and counterfeiting. Piracy hurts the marketplace for legitimate producers, discourages innovation and threatens the safety and well-being of consumers.

Among the topics scheduled to be discussed with European officials are strengthening border control measures, boosting investigation and prosecution of money laundering crimes associated with trade in fakes, improving law enforcement methods and standardising the trademark registration process.

Stop was formed last October to enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement globally. Earlier this year in April members of Stop! had toured Asia to build a coalition of nations to join an international fight against IPR thieves. Stop! is looking to make life as miserable as possible for the counterfeiters and pirates.

Since 2001, annual seizures of counterfeit goods at US ports have increased by 81 per cent. The value of the seized assets rose by 64 per cent to $90 million in 2003. In 2004, there was a 60 per cent increase in criminal IPR-related arrests.


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