The British government is creating a forum to tackle intellectual-property rights issues. The initiative aims to bring about "a shared approach in the fight against piracy and a better understanding a

The British government is creating a forum to tackle intellectual-property rights issues. The initiative aims to bring about "a shared approach in the fight against piracy and a better understanding and respect for copyright," culture secretary Tessa Jowell said Monday (March 15) in a speech in Mumbai, India.

The forum will gather representatives of the creative industries and government departments to discuss issues ranging from piracy to taxation. Jowell says it will cover the entire creative sector, including film, music, publishing, design, fashion, computer games, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and hardware manufacturers. The forum will also include consumer input.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the music industry to get our message across," says Andrew Yeates, outgoing director-general for the British Phonographic Industry. "This will be the place to reconcile the different points of view."

IP issues are dealt with by several units of the British government, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Foreign Office and the Exchequer. The new forum, led jointly by the DTI and the DCMS, aims at achieving better coordination between the departments.

Jowell highlights the need for joint international efforts to tackle piracy. Piracy cost British industries nearly £10 billion ($18.1 billion) in 2002, of which more than £700 million ($1.26 billion) directly affected the music industry, according to the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy. According to the DCMS, creative industries contribute more than 8% to Britain's gross domestic product.

In related news, Christine Losecaat has been appointed creative industries adviser by the DCMS and U.K. Trade & Investment.

Losecaat, who is managing director of communications consultancy Little Dipper, is tasked with driving and coordinating the activities of the Creative Exports Group (CEG), a partnership between the key trade associations and government.