Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police have, for the first time, exercised anti-piracy powers granted last year after raiding the home of someone selling unauthorised software.
The powers, granted under section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, allow inspection of any premises where illegal copyright activity is suspected of taking place. Trading Standards is also now permitted to work collaboratively with representative bodies.
Acting on behalf of one of its software vendor members, The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) supplied Trading Standards with information on the suspected pirate from Beckton, in east London. The vendor had previously contacted the individual to implore him to cease selling the flight simulation software, which had been imported from Hong Kong.
When this plea was ignored, FAST began helping to secure a warrant for Police and Trading Standards to enter the man's home. Trading Standards found evidence at the property which confirmed FAST's research and the information supplied by the vendor. The suspect was then questioned and cautioned.
A spokesperson for Trading Standards said: “The evidence brought to Trading Standards by FAST legal has proved invaluable in securing police cooperation for the raid. Critically, this is the first time for my branch in UK history that we have been able to use these new powers granted in April 2007.”
FAST chief executive John Lovelock added: “We are delighted that Trading Standards is making use of its new duties and powers granted under the implementation of 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This will level the playing field for the UK software industry and the creative IP sector as a whole and, I hope, lead to increased employment and revenue from this important sector as suspected IP thieves are found and shut down.
"Trading Standards may now work in cooperation with representative bodies to enforce the law on copyright offences. The law has strengthened Trading Standards’ position giving copyright offences the attention they should have received 13 years ago when it first entered into the statute book. Trading Standards can now fully operate with its hands untied and we can move forward to address something that has been ignored for far too long.”
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