Scandinavia fights piracy

by Julius Berg Kaasin

Inspired by the EU’s “Action Plan on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights”, Scandinavian governments have just launched various campaigns which aim to fight import, distribution and sale of pirate and trade mark counterfeited goods. The campaign aims at informing both consumers and businesses about the negative consequences of piracy and counterfeits, as well as helping right holders and manufacturers and producers to enforce their rights against being copied illegally.

The Norwegian campaign includes the public website www.velgekte.no (only available in Norwegian) and a cooperation network consisting of the relevant public authorities, such as the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO), Ministry of Trade, Industries and Fisheries, Ministry of Culture, the Norwegian customs authorities, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) and several other key public players.

Piracy is still a considerable problem in Norway, not only with regard to file sharing and other more modern types of piracy. More traditional piracy is also putting people’s health and safety at stake, particularly through non-authentic medicines and essential spare parts for various industries. Imagine for instance what damage non-authentic and inferior spare parts can do to a Norwegian oil platform, or a Swedish nuclear plant… Research also shows that piracy is increasingly related to organized crime.

On the launch of velgekte.no, Industry Minister Monica Mæland explained that the total value of pirate goods worldwide is close to 1700 billion dollars for 2015, which means a loss of around 2,5 million jobs. In addition around 3000 deaths can be related to pirate goods in Europe, adding to the several hundred thousand deaths in non-developed countries. This makes pirate and trademark counterfeited goods a substantial enemy against modern society and the welfare state.

Other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Sweden has also launched similar campaigns, see for instance www.stoppiratkopiering.dk (only in Danish), making the fight against piracy a pan-Scandinavian initiative. In Sweden we have also just recently seen the first few examples of convictions of private members of the public for illegal downloads of music, movies and other online content. There are also heavy debates regarding the responsibility for file sharing services, e.g. Pirate Bay, with some arguing that more responsibility should be placed on the various service providers and search engines. National investigation and prosecution authorities in the Scandinavian countries have also recently engaged in a closer cooperation aiming at closing down cross-border piracy and counterfeit activities.
Julius Berg Kaasin, QMJIP Associate Editor