The world's leading economic powers yesterday (July 16) pledged to step up collaborative efforts to stamp out piracy.

The world's leading economic powers yesterday (July 16) pledged to step up collaborative efforts to stamp out piracy.

In a communiqué issued from the July 15-17 G8 summit in St Petersburg, the participating countries committed themselves to a work plan on tackling piracy and counterfeiting.

Those initiatives include investigating the potential for strengthening the international legal framework on intellectual property law enforcement; establishing a Web site outlining each G8 nation's intellectual property and their enforcement regime; and increasing co-operation between international authorities such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, the World Trade Organization and Interpol.

The G8 has also commissioned the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to compile a report outlining the costs and damage caused by piracy and counterfeiting.

In its statement, the G8 comments, "We consider it necessary to give priority to promoting and upholding laws, regulations and/or procedures to strengthen intellectual property enforcement, raising awareness in civil society and in the business community of the legal ways to protect and enforce intellectual property rights and of the threats of piracy and counterfeiting, and also to providing technical assistance in that area to developing countries."

The British recorded music industry today welcomed the G8's promise. BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, "In an increasingly global market place and with the phenomenal rise of the internet, intellectual property law enforcement increasingly needs to take place at an international level. That's why we welcome the priority given to piracy and counterfeiting by the G8 countries."

World leaders also pledged on Sunday to keep abreast of Africa's concerns. Campaigners however have warned that the St Petersburg forum had delivered "no real progress" on fighting poverty on the African continent.

"In order to make poverty history, we need to make promises happen. Last year's ground-breaking poverty pledges haven't been pushed forward here in St Petersburg but (German chancellor) Merkel has put Africa on her G8 agenda for 2007," said Oliver Buston, European director of DATA, a charity organization co-founded in 2002 by Bono. "The road to Heiligendamm starts here."

The G8 convenes each year to discuss the major economic and political issues facing the international community. Its members are Russia, France, the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Canada and Italy. The last occasion the G8 members met was the July 6-8, 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. Bob Geldof conceived and crafted the historic July 2 Live 8 concerts as a means to influence world leaders to prioritize African poverty.

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