Dinesh Jotwani Senior IP Attorney (Asia-Pacific) & India Counsel, Symantec
Dinesh Jotwani, Senior IP Attorney (Asia-Pacific) & India Counsel, Symantec speaks to VARIndia about the initiatives Symantec is taking to combat the piracy menace.
Q: What measures is Symantec taking to curb illegal reproduction and distribution (piracy) of software?
Ans. Our first priority is to ensure a hassle-free computing experience for our paying customers. We are evaluating a number of anti-piracy technologies to help us maintain the quality of experience our customers have come to expect from Symantec. In addition, through our manufacturing procedures, we employ a number of techniques in the packaging that helps us identify counterfeits.
Symantec has also established a Brand Protection Task Force that focusses on three areas, namely Enforcement, Education and Engineering. Apart from these, we engage with our partners to spread awareness and help them differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products.
Q: Brief us about Symantec “Brand Protection Task Force”?
Ans. Symantec established the Brand Protection Task Force in March 2002, which is divided into three areas:
* Enforcement, to track down incidents of pirated and counterfeit Symantec software and shut down their operations.
* Education, to raise awareness among public about the existence of the said software, the dangers associated with the use of such software and the deleterious economic effects of this criminal activity.
* Engineering, to develop various technological solutions to inhibit the pirated and counterfeit production of Symantec products.
Q: How awareness and enforcement can play a key role in combating this menace?
Ans. Various initiatives taken to fight software and content piracy are premised on the notion that one must balance “enforcement” with “education”, in order to be effective. Industry leaders have to take initiatives to combat piracy and spread awareness on the use of pirated software and the damages that it could do to the data and the hardware.
Awareness is one aspect to combat piracy, the other major one being law enforcement. In a software piracy case, the crime has to be reported and action against it has to be taken immediately. In most cases, there is a delay in the action taken and hence it results in evidence getting damaged.
The legal framework of the country is second to none and there are stringent laws for IP protection, but the challenge here is the enforcement of the prescribed laws. The enforcement is lacking at different levels. First, users (consumers) themselves are not aware about the fundamentals for IP. And secondly, awareness has to be backed by strong enforcement of existing piracy-related laws.
First and foremost, legislation needs to be strengthened and codified at the national level, to remove the conflicts that exist today at the state level to book criminals engaging in the illegal production and distribution of counterfeit and pirated software. Secondly, enforcement of laws needs to be more aggressive with stronger pursuit of prosecution. Lastly, technology is being developed at the engineering level to create software that is tougher to duplicate.
Presently, the best option is to educate the public about the distinction in genuine and bogus offers (that sell pirated and counterfeit software) available in the market.
Q: Give details about Public Private Partnership (PPP) model established between the government and industry players to give a push to the fight against piracy?
Ans. In order to spread awareness, the Government has set up collective an administrative society, which organizes seminars and workshops. Handbooks of Copyright law are also circulated free of cost amongst public, police, enforcement agencies and officials. Additionally, modules of copyright infringement have been introduced in the training programme at national academies and colleges. Special cells for copyright enforcement have been created in almost all states, many of them being implemented on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model with industry leaders. Further, according to law, any police officer having the requisite rank may conduct search and seizure operations as well as effect arrests without the lodging of any formal complaint.
The Government is also making relentless efforts to encourage the use of legitimate software within its own departments, and put its weight behind the industry and enforcement policies.
Software companies eyeing overseas markets are required to prove their ability to maintain adequate security levels. Security is not just a mere statutory requirement but an important factor to compete globally. Software giants, on their part, are engaging students, academicians and government bodies to educate them about piracy and help safeguard their data against any threats. For individuals, who get affected by piracy the most, software companies offer programmes like Digital Rights Management technology, which allows copyright-holders to manage and restrict usage of digital media and devices.
Q. Any other programmes and initiatives that can be applied to tackle this problem more effectively?
Ans. Some initiatives could be:
* Establish specialized IP courts with IP judges. This will increase the speed of adjudication of Criminal and Civil cases, and increase deterrence
* Adopt a system of statutory damages; allow compensation to be awarded in Criminal Cases
* Create a National Anti-Piracy Task Force
* Pass optical disk regulations
* Legalize use of published materials at educational institutions
* Empower Customs to seize and destroy pirated goods
* Adopt an Anti-Camcording Criminal provision.
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