Culture Secretary toughens up counterfeiting regulation

RTS: Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined his plans to tighten regulation on internet counterfeiters and will force brands placing ads on offending sites to remove them.

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Hunt said this evening (14 September) in his keynote speech at the Royal Television Society’s annual convention that the government should make it more difficult to sell counterfeited products on the internet, in the same way this is banned on the high street.

To implement this law, he is considering setting up a cross-industry body, which could be modelled on the Internet Watch Foundation, to identify infringing websites.

Hunt is also set to make advertisers responsible for removing ads from offending sites. After the new Act is implemented, the government will also put increased pressure on search engines and internet service providers to make it harder to access sites a court has deemed unlawful.

The Culture Secretary’s proposals to change counterfeiting regulations are part of his wider plans to update the Communications Act to be more suitable for the digital age.

The government is update the Act to promote growth in the media industry, protect freedom of expression and media plurality and prevent content being unlawfully distributed online.

As part of Hunt’s renewed commitment to protecting competition in the media market, he is looking to introduce a new approach that is “platform neutral”.

Hunt added that Ofcom’s research into the now defunct BSkyB and NewsCorp merger, which drew on the multi-platform concerns of the two companies joining, has led to him to asking the regulator to examine and recommend the best approach for measuring the level of media competition across all media.

A draft of the updated Communications Act is not expected until after Lord Justice Leveson’s full public inquiry into media behaviour and regulation, following the phone hacking scandal at News International, has been published, which is not likely to be until at least 2012.

You can read Hunt’s speech in full by clicking the link in “Related Files” below.

Read MaryLou Costa’s feature on new counterfeiting threats in next week’s Marketing Week magazine

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