How do right holders react?
Faced with myriad methods of piracy and counterfeiting, right holders become increasingly proactive in a wide range of ways to make their IP rights be respected.
Frequently, campaigns are launched, organized by the industry and NGOs, often in close cooperation with government authorities or intergovernmental organizations, to raise awareness among consumers of the negative impacts of purchasing fake goods, and to encourage consumer support of efforts to stem abuse of IP rights. These organizations and associations also undertake surveys and studies so as to better understand the social end economic interrelations and impacts of counterfeiting and piracy.
In the field of music, movie and software products, new business models are developed and deployed that offer consumers the possibility of legally obtaining content online at a competitive price.
The launching of civil and/or criminal proceeding against large-scale infringers may of course always be another option for right holders. While this avenue is frequently chosen by right holders in trademark counterfeiting cases, it now seems to gain ground also in the area of online piracy: in particular in the area of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, a number of major US copyright owners recently have brought suit against respective service providers for allowing software users to search for and exchange digital media files with other users over the Internet; a series of cases is pending in the US courts. In addition, the American recording industry has opened a new chapter in the battle against IP infringement by directly targeting the users of such services. Data on users and their online activities has been gathered, the release of which had been compelled by court order from service providers. On this basis, subpoenas were distributed to users who are suspected of being heavily involved in illegal file swapping. It is too early to say how these trends will develop, but they certainly indicate new developments, which will require adequate answers from the judicial and legislative authorities.