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Licence Compliance: Stopping digital infringement behaviour

Repost from CJCH Consulting.

At CJCH, we have established ourselves as world leaders in an industry which is still gaining public awareness and understanding. As a Firm, we have developed an innovative and systematic approach to not simply identifying an incident of software piracy, but to manage that process through the full lifecycle of enforcement to licence compliance and the recovery of lost revenue for our clients, the copyright owner.

Getting to know the terms

Terms such as “anti-piracy” and “licence compliance” might seem to be counter-intuitive, but in reality, are quite straight forward. Anti-Piracy is the process of instituting countermeasures to piracy. In our industry, piracy does not mean eye-patches and cannon battles at sea. Rather, it refers to the reproduction or unauthorised use of someone else’s work or innovations.

Physical copyright infringement, such as reproduction of clothing, is commonly known as counterfeiting. When it comes to the digital arena, such as computer games and software, we refer to this as piracy.

Licence compliance” is a term used to describe the process which follows on from the identification of infringement activity. The licence is the right the software developers give to the users which allows them to use the product they have developed in a specific way or format. These details are usually outlined in a “ULA” or user licensing agreement. Terms will vary depending on the developer, but any user who uses these products is agreeing to these terms when they install and/or use the software. The terms usually include the number of times the product may be installed on a device or number of devices it may be installed on. They may also relate to the number of users who may use a single licence, the location the licences may be used in, or the primary function the licence may be used for, i.e. personal, academic, or commercial use.

Therefore, licence compliance is the process by which the owner of the copyright takes action to enforce their copyright and require an unauthorised user (someone who is using a fake, copied, or cracked version of their product without paying for it) to pay for the licence and usage that they have benefitted from.

What is a Raid?

In a field shrouded in misperceptions and deception, we often come across infringements that, for various reasons, such as the scope of the violation, require a more direct and tactical intervention – an on-site inspection ordered by a law-enforcement authority (often informally referred to as a Raid).

As mentioned above, copyright infringements constitute a violation of intellectual property rights. Due to the intangible nature of computer programs, there are mechanisms which allow for software infringements’ traces to be easily hidden or deleted by the infringer. This makes it very difficult for the right holder to enforce their rights and consequently could result in the infringer being able to avoid liability. 

An on-site inspection is an approach we use which helps to avoid these risks. An unexpected inspection on the premises on the infringer, ordered by a law-enforcement authority enables the right holder to obtain and/or secure the evidence of the software infringements currently being used and has proven a very effective remedy. 

How can this be implemented?

Around the world, the legislation of various nations usually provides the possibility to obtain an ex parte / Inaudita parte order (meaning it is in the interest of one of the parties to the matter) for the inspection which will be granted by the relevant authority (court, prosecutor, police…) depending on the jurisdiction. Once this order is obtained, and following the regulations of that particular jurisdiction, an inspection is conducted, usually under the supervision of local law enforcement, to inspect the premises of suspected infringements. 

Access to the premises is granted, by order of the authority, and the inspection is carried out. All computer devices and IT equipment are inspected, and evidence of unlicensed software use is gathered/or preserved.

On-site inspections are a legal process which we manage on behalf of our clients and is a service which has allowed many of our clients to expose large volumes of unlawful use of their products which have been stolen from them. 

CJCH have a dedicated on-site inspection team which are strategically placed to observe and monitor our client’s usage data. To date, they have managed the legal process relating to on-site inspections for a number of cases and have recovered in excess of €1 million in revenue for our clients (with up to a further €1 million in pending action).

Software Piracy and Copyright infringement dealt a heavy blow – Pirates beware

In an article released just over a week ago on the China Daily – Europe online news site, a monumental win for French based software giant, Dassault Systemes (DS) was announced.

In an ongoing battle to tackle software piracy head-on, the organisation has partnered with law firms around the world to address the growing issue of  copyright infringement in terms of commercial software. Being a client of ours, we know all too well the dedication and commitment DS shows in the fight against Software Piracy and Licence Compliance, which is why we are delighted to share the news of their recent win in collaboration with our partner law firm in Shanghai, to the tune of $2.2m in compensation.

For too long companies such as DS have suffered at the hands of online deviant behavior which shows indifference to copyright law and Intellectual Property rights. Software pirates do not realise, or do not care about, the knock on effect their infringements have on innovation and development. The costs of research and development of new software can be astronomical, and when individuals take it upon themselves to illegally access and use this software without paying for it, it detracts from the creators ability to reinvest and expand their offering. Not to mention the extreme security risk the illegal software poses to the unauthorised users who open themselves up to threats such as unregulated software which is not monitored by the developers strict quality control processes. The use of illegal and cracked versions of software also potentially expose the user to embedded threats such as malware and viruses which are often inserted into fake versions.

Our partner law firm associated with this case, Han Yuan & Partners, will be joining us in Cardiff in September. We will host them to discuss our collective innovations in the field of Anti-Piracy and Licence Compliance and how the collaboration between China and our evolving technology innovation and IP Hub here in Wales can continue to service and support the Asian and European market and beyond. Discussions will include those with local IP communities, academia and the Welsh Government. 

CJCH Solicitors to create 71 jobs in Cyber Security with backing from Welsh Government.

CJCH Solicitors have embarked on an ambitious journey to create a staggering 71 new jobs within the Anti-Piracy and Cyber Security speciality in Wales by year-end 2020.  We are proud to reiterate the announcement made by the Welsh Government, revealing their support of our new global IP Anti-Piracy Unit at our Cardiff head office.

CJCH has been at the heart of digital piracy and Intellectual Property compliance in Wales, with an international impact. In 2014, our Intellectual Property practice launched its internal Anti-Piracy and Compliance consultancy. Our team developed a customised solution for our international clients, to protect their work product and recover lost revenues from software infringements.

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said “IP piracy, which can range from copyright theft or infringement to counterfeit goods, is a growing global issue that can cause untold damage to businesses, to their protected and valued brands and the economy. ”

Infringements of this nature are a form of cyber crime which impacts business globally, depriving them of revenue and compromising their intellectual property rights. CJCH have tackled this issue head-on and cultivated a bespoke solution for companies suffering from this invasion.

The purpose of this partnership with the Welsh Government is to leverage our thought leadership and create a central hub for Anti-Piracy and Cyber Security in Wales. We intend to bring global best practice into Wales while developing local talent as well. Our 2020 goal, is to have established 71 new jobs in this field, as well as contribute to making the United Kingdom and global digital community a safer and more secure environment. We will be partnering with local businesses and academic institutions, such as Swansea University, to cultivate development and training programs to support this initiative, with specialist content aligned to business needs.

Stephen Clarke, the CJCH CEO, stated “The modern world of digital liberty and innovation offers greater access to information and narrows the global divide. Unfortunately, the digital economy brings with it a growing sophistication in criminal activity. Without proper defences, digital piracy exposes businesses to uncontrollable risk and vulnerability. Our solution enables us to partner with our clients to establish a proactive (protection) and reactive (recovery) governance model. Our goal is to share this experience with the community and grow the local capability in cyber security.”

As of 6 March 2017, CJCH Solicitors has been awarded a £432 000 grant from the Welsh Government to support our active project to establish this new entity. Our objective is to aggressively drive the development of Cyber Security and Anti-Piracy enforcement in collaboration with skills development and knowledge transfer. Making Wales, and the UK, a more secure and impenetrable digital landscape.

For more information and updates, email us at ip@cjch.co.uk or engage with us via Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn.

Compliance without borders

CJCH Solicitors is a law firm based in Cardiff, United Kingdom. The firm has grown substantially through a combination of a focused expansion strategy and key merger and acquisition projects. With collective legal experience spanning over 34 years, CJCH Solicitors is focused on dedicated solution development for both corporate and private clients.

The firm has developed a standalone Anti-Piracy and Compliance offering, which is coordinated by its team of experienced solicitors and compliance and research professionals. Compliance is no longer a tick-box function of corporate governance. Rather CJCH sees Anti-Piracy and Compliance as a dynamic element of the modern, digitally-aware organisation both in the UK and globally.

At CJCH we are committed to perfecting our compliance solutions to ensure that no client’s software or intellectual property is utilised without licence. We have grown our sphere of knowledge sharing and best practice development. Having recently hosted Attorneys from a leading American Law firm, our CEO and head of Anti-Piracy and Compliance embarked on a tour of partner firms in the Nordic and Baltic regions to share our compliance processes and learn from their local experiences.

The tour included visits with Njord Law in Copenhagen, a prominent Scandinavian law firm, as well as Sorainen in Latvia which was voted Baltic Law firm of the year for 2016.

(L to R) Stephen Clarke – CEO of CJCH Solicitors; Frederik Lindboe Refsgaard – Legal Assistant at Njord Law; Emma Whitehead – Dassault Systemes Lead Investigator, Baltic Region; Jeppe Brogaard Clausen – Partner at Njord Law.

(L to R) Steve Rees – CJCH Compliance and Enforcement Team Manager; Stephen Clarke – CEO of CJCH Solicitors; Agris Repass – Head of Intellectual Property of Sorainen in Latvia; Emma Whitehead – Dassault Systemes Lead Investigator, Baltic Region. Our objective in Latvia was to discuss our IP enforcement policies for the Baltics and in particular increased use of court procedures and raids on premises where businesses are using illegal software.

As illegal usage and piracy of our clients’ software continues to expand globally, so too does our focus on enforcing Anti-Piracy and Compliance on an international scale. The increased use of court authorised raids in particular has proved very helpful, playing a major part in increasing our recovery rate by over 50% in the recent year from €11.8 Million in 2015 to €18.6 Million in 2016.

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