Latvian officials attend cyber-crime summit
Riga, 31st August 2007
Latvian police, prosecutors and intellectual property experts gathered today in Sigulda to discuss internet anti-piracy strategy. The assembled experts discussed how online copyright violations could be detected and recorded, with evidence obtained, collated and presented to the courts of law in intellectual property cases.
The experts were joined by guest lecturer Jeremy Banks, Head of the Internet Anti-Piracy Unit (IAPU) of IFPI, the organisation that represents the recording industry worldwide. Banks has more than 12 years’ experience in online security and internet anti-piracy, lecturing on these topics worldwide as well as being involved in the day-to-day work of the IAPU.
Jeremy Banks spoke about the evolution of illegal file-sharing and shared examples of best practice in cyber-crime enforcement. One example given was a case that reached the Sweden’s Court of Appeal in June, when it upheld a SEK 20,000 fine (€2,132) imposed on a 45-year-old man for illegally distributing music on the internet. The man had uploaded four copyright-infringing tracks.
“Internet data exchange networks have undergone enormous rapid technological evolution,” explained Banks. “They offer people the chance to link to countless other users who can very quickly exchange all kinds of information, including illegal files of copyright infringing music, film, computer games and software. A sense of anonymity and the almost unlimited amount of information creates the misimpression among people that anything can be downloaded for free.
“Yet the fight against internet piracy worldwide has developed in parallel. Our experience in solving cyber-crimes and proving culprits’ guilt has improved many times over. We can ensure the provision of evidence that has legal force and we can successfully fight music pirates.”
Valdis Birkavs, the BSA Representative in Latvia, also addressed the meeting. He stressed recent positive trends – the level of computer piracy in the country is slowly, but stably diminishing. This has been achieved by the common effort, especially, by the activities of the Economic Police and Tax Administration. Yet, the fight against piracy on the internet is becoming an increasingly important challenge.
Birkavs said: “Computer piracy is one of the most complex types of crime, because the internet environment itself is technologically complicated and it is developing very quickly. It is extremely important for the police and prosecutors to look at what is happening in other countries in the fight against internet software piracy. These kinds of skills are also needed by those who fight against other types of cyber-crime.”
Edgars Gramals, Senior Inspector of the Economic Police Intellectual Property Rights Protection Division adds: “Cyber-crime is just like any other type of crime. This is often forgotten by those who illegally download copyright infringing music, video files or computer software. Crimes on the internet are increasingly the focus of the Latvian police and courts and this seminar represents a step towards the more active and effective combating of cyber-crime.”
The content of the seminar was put together by two organisations which protect intellectual property copyright – BSA Latvia and the Latvian Music Producers Asociation. BSA Latvia also organised and funded the seminar.
“The abuse of copyrighted music is one of the most common forms of piracy both worldwide and in Latvia,” says Elita Milgrave, Director of the Latvian Music Producers Asociation. “Until people realise that obtaining illegal music damages the long-term viability of the industry and turn to legal sites, we will have lots of work to do.
“Music piracy incurs losses not just to the recording companies, but also to the musicians that we all love. It is wonderful that software and music copyright defenders have come together, because although these are different sectors the damage caused to them both is the same.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the leading organisation in establishing a digital world that is secure and lawful. The BSA represents the world’s software and computer industries in negotiations with governments and the international market. Members of the BSA represent those parts of the global economy which have experienced the most rapid growth. The BSA and its programme promote the development of new technologies. The organisation also supports education and policies which are aimed at protecting copyright, greater security in the virtual environment, as well as trade and commerce in the electronic environment. The BSA was established in 1988, and it is now present in more than 80 countries.
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry represents the recording industry worldwide, with a membership comprising some 1400 record companies in 75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 49 countries. IFPI's mission is to promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.
Latvian Music Producers Association represents the interests of the recording industry and distributors. In cooperation with public sector and international institutions it fights against the piracy of recorded music, produces informative materials, organizes informative campaigns and an annual all music genre award ceremony „Latvian Music Record Award of the Year” (http://www.micrec.lv/gadabalva).For further information contact:
Sanita Meijere, Executive Director, BSA Latvija