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Cablegate: Cyprus: Police Step Up Ipr Enforcement

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNC #0216 0931128
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021128Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8686
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS NICOSIA 000216

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/IPE (JBOGER) AND EUR/SE

DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR (JGROVES)

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON ETRD AF NEA EUR EAP WHA SA CY
SUBJECT: CYPRUS: POLICE STEP UP IPR ENFORCEMENT

REF: NICOSIA 0126

(U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Please treat
accordingly.

1. (SBU) As reported Reftel, police enforcement action against IPR
piracy seems to be on the rise. During 2007, the police launched
188 raids on suspected pirates, seizing 188,516 pirated items
(mostly of DVDs and CDs), compared to 114 raids and 77,763 seized
items in 2006. Thus far, this trend has been sustained in 2008.

2. (SBU) On March 24, the local press carried an article about a
police raid on two shops in Nicosia, resulting in the seizure of
3,155 counterfeit DVDs. This is one of a series of widely-publicized
raids that have taken place over the past few months. When Post
called to congratulate Nicos Chrysostomou, the Head of the Police
Office for Combating Intellectual Property Theft, he noted that, for
the first time ever, the new Four-Year Strategic Plan of the police
(covering the years 2008-12) makes explicit reference to
strengthening IPR enforcement. Specifically, the plan requires
police authorities in the four main districts to go out and raid
suspected pirate shops, setting specific goals. Chrysostomou was
happy to see that the plan had energized regional police departments
to be more pro-active on IPR enforcement. With increased support
from his men in the field, Chrysostomou now feels that he has more
time to tackle strategic/procedural issues to upgrade his
department's effectiveness.

3. (SBU) Chrysostomou also noted that his department has been
making good use of the evidence law, passed in February 2004. This
law grants Cypriot judges discretionary authority to admit hearsay
and electronic reproductions as evidence in trials. These changes
facilitate prosecution of IPR cases by the Police. Furthermore, he
noted, District Courts (particularly in Nicosia) are now more
inclined to pass stricter sentences against pirates, taking
advantage of amendments to the copyright law passed in 2002
providing increased penalties. The increase in penalties also
allows the police to raid businesses suspected of being engaged in
piracy without having to obtain a search warrant.

4. (SBU) Chrysostomou continues to support our efforts to amend
existing copyright legislation and reverse the IPR burden of proof
onto the defendant, making prosecution easier. Chrysostomou (who is
just back from a three-week IPR training program in the States,
funded by the USG) commented, "Until we are given a better law, we
will just have to make the best of the existing law to fight
piracy."

5. (SBU) Comment: The recent police actions exemplify a growing
degree of awareness and sensitivity of IPR issues among GOC
agencies. We have witnessed similar trends with Customs and, more
recently, with the Consumer Protection Service of the Ministry of
Commerce, Industry and Tourism. These developments lead us to
expect piracy to continue declining in the government-controlled
area. Unfortunately, in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots,
the IPR situation is much worse. With that in mind, Post will
organize two IPR workshops on both sides of the island in November
(November 20 and 21) at which rights-holders, government officials,
and attorneys will participate. End comment.

SCHLICHER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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