Legislation plans to tackle piracy and protect creativity

28 Feb 2008 View Comments
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Skull and crossbones
Laws must be tougher to beat copyright pirates

The government is considering anti file-sharing legislation as part of plans for the UK to become “the world’s creative hub”.

But legal experts say the government must put its money where its mouth is to beat the pirates.

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There is still the possibility that ISPs will agree on a voluntary scheme for addressing intellectual property violations such as illegal downloads. But if a solution is not reached by April next year, the government will bring in legislation.

“We are committed to safeguarding the rights of those who make a living from their creativity,” said minister for intellectual property Baroness Morgan of Drefelin.

But new legislation alone will not win the battle, said Kim Walker, head of intellectual property at law firm Pinsent Masons.

“The government is very much focusing on infringement, which can help to stop illegal file-sharing,” said Walker.

“But changes in the law will not make much difference. It is changes in the level and scale of enforcement that matter ­ and that really depends on how much money the government puts behind it.”

Any UK reforms will also have to fit into the wider EU regulations, said Isabel Davies, partner at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna.

“A lot of legislation is harmonised across Europe, so that doesn’t give UK authorities much scope for interpretation,” she said.

Last month the European Court of Justice ruled that Spanish ISP Telefonica had no obligation to reveal the identities of pirates on its network.

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