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DTI Awards Trading Standards £5 Million To Tackle Games Piracy

Friday 23rd February/ ELSPA (The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers' Association) today welcomed the DTI's decisions to grant Trading Standards Officers more power to tackle those who sell illegally copied computer and video games.

Speaking to the Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Group in London, Trade and Industry Minister Malcolm Wicks said that, from 6 April, new powers under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, backed up with £5million new funding, will be at the disposal of Trading Standards Officers and other UK enforcement agencies to support the duty to enforce this Act.

The DTI's plans were welcomed by ELSPA Director General Paul Jackson, who said: "The fight against IP theft remains a massive problem for not only the games business but film, music and branded goods. The DTI's commitment to give new powers to TSOs around the country, plus a further £5 million in funding is a clear sign that the DTI understands that Trading Standards needs more help in the battle."

Bringing into force Section 107a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 was a recommendation of last year's Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. It will make enforcement of copyright infringement the duty of Trading Standards and give enforcement officers the power to make test purchases, enter premises and inspect and seize goods and documents. The IP Crime Group's Strategy is enabling co-ordinated action from customs, benefit fraud teams, police, trading standards and industry investigators.

Trade and Industry Minister, Malcolm Wicks said: "From 6th April, there'll be an additional 4,500 pairs of Trading Standards eyes watching counterfeiters and pirates. This will mean more surprise raids at markets and car boot sales, more intelligence, more prosecutions and more criminals locked up. IP criminals should know that the UK is not a safe place. The risk of 10 years' imprisonment and unlimited fines is very real and, from this date forward, a markedly higher risk."

He continued: "The UK film, music and game industries are among the most creative and innovative in the world, but peddlers of counterfeit product are costing those industries up to £9 billion a year. The taxpayer is also losing out to the tune of £300 million. It's a serious offence, whether committed by small-scale hawkers or international crime organisations."

Editor's Notes:

More on the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property can be found here:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/gowers

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA's activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately £540 million.

Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.

Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.

Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Tom Sargent/Laura West

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: tom.sargent@bhpr.co.uk/ laura.west@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper's Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1

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