"We feel in the music industry that we are starting to contain piracy."
——Eric Nicoli, EMI Group Chairman


Nicoli Contends Music Industry Leading Fight Against Pirates
CEOs from around the world gathered in London this past Tuesday (10/4) at a confab that took place under the banner Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP). Among the participants were EMI’s Eric Nicoli and Vivendi Universal’s Jean-René Fourtou (the co-chairs of BASCAP), Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and GE’s Bob Wright, along with a bunch of bigwigs from outside the entertainment and technology industries.

The aims of BASCAP, launched last year by the International Chamber of Commerce, are to lobby governments to act against piracy and counterfeiting, as well as to increase public and political awareness of the issue, which these corporate leaders believe is a significant threat to what they describe as “the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.”

The business leaders aim to take targeted action against counterfeiting and piracy that involves all sectors and crosses national boundaries. The executives determined that piracy is a $600 billion global industry. During the meeting, they stressed that the practice undermines consumer confidence in branded products and pose serious safety risks in areas such as food, medicines, toys and car parts. Economic damage done to creative industries such as film, music and business software have led to job losses and will lead to less choice for consumers. Furthermore, Interpol has pointed to increasing links between organized criminal networks and piracy.

Said Nicoli: "We feel in the music industry that we are starting to contain it." He added that he plans to share the lessons he’s learned with executives of other companies.

Wright believes that the entertainment industry is now facing many of the same issues that has affected the music industry for several years. "In my business, which is entertainment, we are just looking over our shoulders at the music industry which has gone through a difficult period with piracy and peer-to-peer issues and we see that could come our way too," he said at the conference.

During the meeting, the CEOs agreed an initial plan of action: to create counterfeiting and piracy indices; to identify issues that deserve greater attention within national IP protection programs; to develop of a clearinghouse to share best practices and strategies and leverage existing industry efforts; to compile a compendium of case studies and statistics and the first global, cross-sectoral stock take of the counterfeiting and piracy problem which can be shared between businesses and governments; and to develop educational materials for policy makers and the public to explain why IP rights should be respected and enforced.

Said Fourtou: “The ICC has already successfully worked to put counterfeiting and piracy on the agenda of G8 governments. The aim of BASCAP is twofold: to ensure that governments now turn words into action and to help them raise awareness among the public of the seriousness of the problem.”

Added Nicoli: “BASCAP is about commanding respect for intellectual property in all its forms, regardless of industry or geography. We live in an age where virtually every sector in every country on the planet is contaminated by piracy and counterfeiting and this is having devastating effects on our businesses, the economy and wider society.”

The business leaders called on their peers worldwide to join in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Their aim is to raise the issue at the highest levels nationally and internationally and seek greater cooperation between business and government to tackle this scourge. This business leadership group will build on the work of BASCAP, which was launched by the ICC last year and now involves over 800 companies and trade organizations worldwide. BASCAP declined to say what its budget for combating piracy would be.