Lobbying & Liaison
As a result of continued and successful lobbying on behalf of the industry, The Federation strives to retain trusted adviser status to Government, MPs and the civil service to ensure that software intellectual property matters are heard and acted upon.
We lobby to ensure the legal framework protecting software intellectual property (IP) is fit for the industry’s purpose, and the Federation was a key contributor to the Gowers Review on Intellectual Property.
We communicate with many different Government departments, including: UKIPO (DIUS), MOJ, BERR, DCA, DCMS, Home Office, The Treasury and advisory public bodies such as the Civil Justice Council.
As technology and business models evolve, new threats to IP rights arise, The Federation focuses on the following to have the IP system fit for purpose:
- Representative rights: In conjunction with the Scotch Whisky Association, the Federation lobbies at all levels of Government and with MPs to implement Article 4 of the EU directive on enforcement of IP rights (2004/48/EC). Representative Rights would give locus standi (sufficient legal interest) for the Federation to sue in the public interest with the consent of a member who may not have the financial muscle or enforcement profile to protect its position.
- Directors’ liability: S.110 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) limits directors’criminal liability for copyright infringement to actual knowledge; directors who are neglectful escape criminal liability. The Federation considers neglectful directors ought to be accountable to make sure the matter is taken seriously; research has shown that 60% of software piracy takes place in the workplace.
- Damages: The Federation responded to the DCA’s consultation paper on whether the law on damages should be reformed, and lobbies for an effective, dissuasive system of damages to discourage illegitimate use.
- Online penalties: The Federation is calling for the harmonising of penalties for online and physical copyright infringement by amending section 107 of the CDPA to reflect the prevalence of online infringement. This would increase the maximum custodial sentence available to the courts from 2 to 10 years.
- ISPs: Campaigning for industry agreement, between ISPs and rights holders, for action to be taken to stop unalwful file sharing of copyright protected material, consideration ought to be given to termination of connections as a potential last resort.
Some of the Federation’s previous lobbying successes are:
- “Literary work”: Lobbying by The Federation resulted in a “computer program” being included in the definition of a “literary work” in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
- Copyright enforcement: After 13 years of campaigning by the Federation, sections 107A and 198A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”) were finally enacted on 6th April 2007. This gave trading standards the duty and power to prosecute for copyright offences in the same way as they enforce trade mark law.
- IP crime: The Federation was instrumental, through lobbying and its response to the Gowers Review, in ensuring that IP crime was placed on the Police National Community Safety Plan.
- Additional Submissions by the Federation include:
- Copyright Exceptions
- E Commerce Directive
- Enterprise Act 2002; the civil gateway
- Rogers Review for Trading Standards’ priorities
- Enforcement Directive
- EC IP Crime Directive
- The Alliance Against IP theft responds to a number of consultations; the Federation is an active participant.