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PM appoints intellectual property advisor

Written by Saowanee Kristin, a post- graduate student on work experience at Lawdit on 20 September 2013

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The Prime Minister has appointed a personal advisor to provide him with counsel on intellectual property matters.

Mike Weatherley MP has filled the newly created unpaid role. With Mike’s lengthy experience in the film and music industry, he is happy to act as direct advisor to the Prime Minister on these matters.  “I am honoured to have been appointed as the Prime Minister’s adviser on Intellectual Property. The creative industries are incredibly important to Britain’s economy so it is only right that the Government focuses on enforcement issues. I look forward to working with the Prime Minster and my ministerial colleagues on addressing the challenges that face the film and music industries.”

The announcement comes at the same time as the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is launched, showing the government’s increasing interest on intellectual property matters.

The PIPCU was initiated and funded by the Intellectual Property Office and will be run by the City of London police. £2.5 million has been awarded to the PIPCU over the next two years. The unit will be working with international partners to crack down on a broad spectrum of intellectual property infringements from illegal music downloads to unauthorised fake designer goods.

The independent unit have the powers to make arrests and prosecute potential copyright infringers.  They also have the authority to close down websites that infringe copyright content and sell counterfeit goods; mirroring the approach taken in the US.

Adrian Leppard announced that "Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.”

Two arrests were made in Birmingham on the first day that the unit launched, based on illegitimate copying of DVDs. The City of London Police declared in a statement that around 7 million consumers per month visit websites which offer illegal content in the UK, highlighting the vast potential for forms of intellectual property infringement. The City of London police are very keen to show that they take this matter very seriously and have proven that with these quick arrests.

This article was written by Saowanee Kristin, a post- graduate student on work experience at Lawdit

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