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Brexit could make piracy crackdown more difficult, UK government says

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has reaffirmed its aim to make piracy “socially unacceptable”, but says Brexit is making its job even more challenging than it already was.

In a pair of documents published this week, which were first spotted by TorrentFreak, the government admits it still has a lot to learn, but reiterates that its ongoing mission is to reduce infringement. No surprises there.

Related: The next piracy battleground

It says “online market places, social media and digital advertising” in particular will be targeted, and for good reason.

Illegal streams on social media platforms appear to be growing more and more popular, and Trusted Reviews understands that industry insiders are frustrated about how long it can take the likes of Twitter and Facebook to take them down.

Online marketplaces also tend to be perfect places for picking up piracy-configured IPTV boxes.

“Reducing IP crime requires a multi-faceted approach,” the IPO’s 2018/19 corporate plan explains. “The UK is already a world leader in the enforcement of IP. We want to build upon what we are doing to create a paradigm shift around infringement.

“Before we can make this happen we need to improve our knowledge around consumer understanding of IP crime and infringement and what works to change behaviour in this space. We need to understand the strengths and challenges of our enforcement approach, continue to invest in education and intelligence, and maintain and increase our capacity to lead.”

Intriguingly, the document adds that Brexit makes things “challenging but exciting”.

“We have fully supported the arms of Government leading on the EU Exit negotiations to ensure the best outcome for IP,” it says, adding that:

“We will have prepared the systems supporting our trade marks service for the UK’s exit from the EU and the implementation of the EU Trade Mark Directive. On its current platform our digital trade mark service, TM10 is struggling to cope with the volume increases we are experiencing now and forecast post-EU exit. By re-platforming TM10 onto the DDP we will secure the availability of the service in the face of increasing demand.”

It adds that “finding the best way to secure the continuity of IP rights is paramount and the huge increase in demand we are seeing for UK trade marks in particular is testing our people and technology”.

The IPO’s 2018 strategy document underlines all of this, adding that it needs to work to, “ensure that UK IP rights continue to function
after EU exit with a smooth transition”.

Ultimately though, the IPO is looking to alter the way people feel about piracy, and doesn’t seem fazed about how long this could take.

“To begin the work towards making the infringement of IP socially unacceptable, we need a better view of consumer attitudes to IP crime and what messaging changes behaviour,” the plan continues.

“We know that behavioural change is long-term and never easy, but we want to secure general cultural change where respecting IP is seen as the right thing to do.”

Do you think the war against pirates is working or will law enforcement always be playing catch-up? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.

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