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FACT broadens IP protection services

UK intellectual property protection body FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) is expanding its intellectual property protection services to organisations outside the audio-visual industry.

Recent changes in its funding model have created new opportunities for the organisation and now FACT’s expertise and technical knowledge are being extended to brands and businesses requiring support in protecting their content, brand and intellectual property.

In May 2016, it was revealed that FACT was set to lose 50 per cent of its funding within six months, when the Motion Picture Association (MPA), which represents the international interests of the six major Hollywood studios, informed the organisation that it would not be renewing its membership in six months’ time, ending a 30-year relationship between the two bodies.

The MPA’s contribution to FACT represents 50 per cent of the organisation’s total budget, with the remaining 50 per cent made up from members including the UK Cinema Association, the Film Distributors’ Association and UK commercial broadcasters such as ITV.

According to Stan McCoy, the MPA’s president and managing director for EMEA, it was withdrawing its funding from FACT as part of a wider strategy to focus its operations in regional hubs rather than in specific territories.

Announcing the services initiative, Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, welcomed what he describes as “great investment” from the UK’s film and television industries. “We are now able to offer services to others involved in IP industries,” he advised. Previously, FACT was asked to undertake work on behalf of others, but were unable to do so because of who the body’s paymasters in the audio-visual industry were. “This is now an opportunity for us and others who would like those services to take advantage of what FACT has to offer,” he said, suggesting this was an opportunity to thrive and grow and to continue to provide the service for those who have always had it, but even better because we will be a stronger organisation going forward.”

“We are about to embark on a new and exciting chapter for FACT which offers great opportunities to intellectual property rights holders both in the UK and overseas,” declared FACT Chairman, Mike Barley. “FACT is valued and trusted by industry, government and law enforcement and its history of success is testament to its expertise and experience.”

Offering a full range of content and brand protection solutions to protect digital content and physical goods, FACT’s services include: intelligence collation and analysis; forensic examinations, and a dedicated Internet investigation and scanning service.

With increased broadband speeds and a demand for all things online, technology is rapidly evolving, FACT notes, with the consequence being that criminals are taking advantage of this to steal copyrighted content and to sell counterfeit goods, making significant revenue for themselves and depriving legitimate businesses of revenue.

FACT’s work is always at the forefront of technology. Working closely with both UK and international partners and law enforcement, FACT is continually developing techniques and solutions to effectively tackle new and emerging threats.

FACT’s content and brand protection solutions are built on years of experience, knowledge and success. Recently it secured close to £1 million (€1.12m) to go back into the ‘public purse’ following a successful confiscation hearing. Simon Hopkins and Leon Passlow were ordered to pay back £992,947.60 by January 2017 or each face up to seven more years behind bars for an illegal Premier League broadcasts scam.

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