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Are civil remedies the only way of enforcing copyright?

No. Deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale may be a criminal offence. This activity is usually known as copyright piracy and is often linked to wilful infringement of trade marks known as counterfeiting where criminal offences also exist. Piracy and counterfeiting are therefore often also referred to as intellectual property or IP crime. So, if the infringement of your copyright work is intentional, is on a large scale and copies of your work are being made for sale, being imported, distributed, sold or put on the internet, then it may be worth informing the Police or your local Trading Standards Department. They can decide whether action by them, including possible prosecution, is justified. However, they are unlikely to be able to take any action at all unless you are able to co-operate fully, including by providing good intelligence about the crime, helping to identify infringing goods, assisting with the preparation of evidence, being prepared to appear in court and so on.

Even if the police or trading standards officers do not take any action, you could still consider whether a private criminal prosecution might be appropriate where you believe there is a criminal offence and, of course, you can still pursue a civil action against the alleged infringer. In many areas subject to serious piracy in the UK, e.g. music and software, including leisure software, often recorded on optical discs (CDs), films recorded on videos and DVDs, copyright owners have formed organisations either specifically to fight piracy and counterfeiting or having this as one of the important objectives. Many of these organisations also belong to an umbrella group of right holder interests in this area, the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Intercepting pirate and counterfeit goods at the border is another possibility and there are specific provisions on the role of customs officers in assisting right holders.