Police given more tools to combat copyright violations

Business community expresses muted optimism at government’s latest efforts to protect intellectual property rights

No Washington state fair would be complete without it (all photos: Luisa Kyca)
September 23rd, 2013 3:02 pm| by admin
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The government has promised to put a few more teeth in laws designed to prosecute people who violate international copyright laws and sell counterfeit goods.

Lobby groups like Dansk Industri and Rettighedsalliancen, an association of copyright holders, have said for years that efforts to combat piracy rings, which often involve people in several different countries, have been woefully inadequate.

In July, Rigsadvokaten, the public prosecutor’s office, said it would strengthen efforts to stop fake goods from getting into the country and prosecute those that import and sell them.

A job for the fraud squad

The plan would call for Statsadvokaten for Særlig Økonomisk og International Kriminalitet, more commonly known as the fraud squad, to take a much larger role. Copyright owners and licensees would continue to report cases directly to the authorities, which would then determine if they should take up the case or refer it to the local jurisdiction where the violations were occurring.

The plan, according to Rigsadvokaten, is for the fraud squad to handle “a substantial number of cases”.

In addition, each police district will now have an officer assigned as contact person for copyright-related crimes, and the fraud squad will step in and help local departments where possible.

“It's a step in the right direction,” Maria Fredenslund,” the head of Rettighedsalliancen told Politiken newspaper.

Fredenslund has previously been critical of police efforts to combat copyright crime.

SEE RELATED: UK closes loophole on designer furniture rip-offs

"A year ago, we would contact them about copyright crimes and they would not have any idea what we were talking about,” she said.

Concentrating the cases in the hands of people specialising in investigating copyright crimes would be an improvement over the current situation, according to Fredenslund. She also stressed that her organisation is after the major traffickers who earn big money selling and distributing fake merchandise, not the kid burning DVD copies at home.

Do like the Swedes
Lars Holm Nielsen, an executive with Dansk Industry, said that although the organisation welcomes any increased focus on piracy, the plans as they stand do not offer any clear goals or objectives. He would like to see a dedicated piracy unit similiar to one established by Swedish authorities.

Michael Aastrup Jensen, a spokesperson for opposition party Venstres, agreed that a specialised piracy unit was the only real solution.

“We need something more targeted than what the government has provided,” Jensen told Politiken. “Piracy is a tremendously complex problem that is very complicated both legally and technically, and very expensive for some manufacturers.”

SEE RELATED: Danish copyright agency says "no show, no" to Amy play

Jensen said Denmark needed to follow Sweden’s lead and create a concrete unit of both police officers and prosecutors, focused solely on piracy.

Mogens Jensen, a spokes person for the PM’s Socialdemokraterne, worked to get the current changes through the Justice Ministry and called it “incomprehensible” that Jensen would call the new initiative insufficient before it even begins.

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