Anti-Piracy

Anti-piracy Exists to Protect IP Owners

Anti-piracy is the term that is used to indicate the efforts that content-based companies deploy against distributors, dealers and end users who steal their content. Examples include the efforts taken by computer software companies, games publishers, book publishers, the film industry and the music industry against the theft and appropriation of their creativity. Sometimes the term is also used to apply to efforts against appropriation of brands or trademarks, such as the sale of knock-off Rolex watches and designer jeans bearing prestige labels, but more often that effort is called anti-counterfeiting.

Often the problem exists both in the United States and abroad, and in most cases the piracy problems overseas, including in such countries as China and Russia, dwarf problems in Western developed countries. Many of the affected companies approach the problem through anti-piracy trade associations such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and its US affiliate, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the Association of American Publishers (APA).

Neff Law Firm is unique in that its principal, Richard Neff, a former chairman of the BSA, initiated and ran many of its overseas programs, including most of its Latin American programs, from 1989 until the end of 2005. In addition, Neff has the unusual distinction of having run overseas programs for both the predecessor of the ESA, IDSA (Interactive Digital Software Association) and for the Association of American Publishers (APA), the book publishers association. He has also run programs for individual software companies. Hence Neff Law Firm probably has more antipiracy experience, especially overseas experience, than virtually any other law firm.

An anti-piracy lawyer may specialize in issues such copyright infringement, trademark law, international law and civil, administrative and criminal legal procedures around the world. Often the lawyer has to deal with overseas authorities to achieve the necessary intellectual property registrations as well as effective enforcement.

There has been a great deal of legislative activity in the United States over the past few years, attempting to take on piracy. It has aimed to deal with problems ranging from people using their smart phones to steal movies in the theater to foreign websites that facilitate the illegal transfer of copyrighted files including songs, movies, and software. Companies that are victims of these types of theft can often seek redress in local courts if they have enough proof and the right anti-piracy lawyer to help fight for damages and any necessary injunctions. Victims of piracy also have the option to work outside the court system and this can be effective and more cost-efficient in many cases, as some offenders will be more compliant once confronted.

With international piracy issues such as the illegal distribution of software and entertainment media abroad, the fight is more difficult because there are so many participants, including many with ties to organized crime and some (e.g., Russian spam sites) that seem to operate with quasi-governmental sanction.

In any case, making the right choices about how to protect property and combat piracy requires effective legal knowledge, which can most effectively be determined and channeled through the help of a seasoned anti-piracy lawyer.