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E-BUSINESS: Big guns target the pirates.

Byline: By Pete Harrison Special correspondent

Executives from some of the world's best-known companies have formed a new association to combat piracy and counterfeiting, warning that the growing problem is costing industry more than pounds 342 billion annually worldwide.

Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), which cuts across industries and counts Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft; Peter Brabeck, chairman and chief executive of Nestle, and Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI Group among its 13-strong members, will lobby governments to raise awareness of pirated goods and services.

BASCAP, formed by the International Chambers of Commerce, said it will also encourage closer cooperation between business and governments and share information to members on how businesses can combat piracy.

Speaking at the BASCAP launch Mr Nicoli, chairman of the UK's largest record company, said piracy was not just a problem for the music industry and companies in the Western world.

"Piracy remains a real problem for virtually every industry sector and in every corner of the planet," he said.

"We stand a much better chance of fighting counterfeiting and piracy if as many parts of the business community come together and work as one."

BASCAP will initially focus its efforts on lobbying governments and law enforcement agencies, raising awareness of the economic damage caused by piracy and the procedures needed to clamp down on it.

Mr Nicoli said that BASCAP will consider publishing a league table ranking countries by the level of piracy and counterfeiting, although this is likely to take about a year.

He added that lessons could be learned from the music industry's experience in fighting the growing popularity of the unauthorised downloading of music from the internet and the swapping of songs for free online.

The music industry's anti-piracy drive has included advertising campaigns and, more controversially, legal action against individuals and companies.

"No one should imagine that this (BASCAP) will eradicate piracy overnight," he said. "In the music industry's experience, after four to five years we have started to see progress and are at least containing piracy

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Peter Brabeck
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 11, 2005
Words:346
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