APEC Senior Officials have agreed to strengthen regulatory measures intended to restrict the unauthorized copying of optical discs containing copyrighted material such as movies, music and computer programs.
The measures were outlined in the "Effective Practices for Regulation of Optical Disc Production" report that was prepared by the APEC Intellectual Property Rights Experts' Group (IPEG) and will now be presented to APEC Leaders for endorsement.
The recommendations offer another tool government agencies can use in the APEC region to combat copyright piracy stating that: "a regulatory means for the supervision of optical media production is simpler and more efficient than civil or criminal measures for addressing copyright violations."
The implementation of the recommendations have been agreed by Senior Officials on a pathfinder basis to be initiated by individual member economies.
The recommendations cover the four areas relating to the licensing of production facilities, enhanced legal enforcement measures, adequate penalties for violations and controls on the cross border movement of inputs to production that could be used by optical disc pirates.
The report was endorsed at the Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (CSOM) for the 2003 APEC year that was held on October 14-15. The CSOM meeting is the first in a series of APEC Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, in conjunction with the APEC Ministers Meeting on October 17-18 and the APEC Leaders' Meeting on October 20 -21.
Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, said preventing optical disc piracy is important for promoting growth and jobs in the region.
"When someone copies movies, music or computer programs without the owners' consent, it is stealing from the people who created the original," Ambassador Milintachinda said.
"This discourages other people who might want to work in a knowledge based industry.
"These new recommendations are intended to get to the source of pirate operations by implementing measures to license operations that use machinery and other inputs to the mass production of optical discs.
"These measures will ensure records are kept and production facilities use equipment that applies source identification codes to all discs that it produces.
"The enforcement of licenses is integral to the success of these recommendations.
"It is expected that successful prosecutions by domestic authorities for copyright violations would deter optical disc piracy and highlight the importance of intellectual property rights.
"The export of inputs for the production of optical discs will also receive the attention of APEC members through measures that are consistent with WTO requirements."
The recommendations lay out a series of "key offences" that clearly identify the requirements of legitimate operators:
Manufacturing or duplicating discs or production parts without a license or registration or contrary to the terms of a license or registration.
Exporting discs, or importing/exporting production parts, raw materials, or machinery without a license or contrary to the terms of a license.
Forging license documents.
Manufacturing/producing discs at a place other than the licensed or registered premises.
Failing to apply the required allocated Identification Code.
A full copy of the "Effective Practices for Regulation of Optical Disc Production" report will be available on the APEC Secretariat Website after it has been presented to APEC Leaders on October 21.