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IRMA Commission Initiates Antipiracy Compliance Program

Debbie Galante Block

February 21, 2021 | Twenty-seven international companies have signed an "Anti-Piracy Covenant" as part of an Antipiracy Compliance Program initiated by the Optical Media Manufacturers Association (OMMA) to combat worldwide piracy and protect Intellectual Property rights.

The Covenant was announced at REPLItech in February by Charles Van Horn, president of the International Recording Media Association (IRMA) of which the OMMA is an active coalition. IRMA already offers an anti-piracy certification program for manufacturers of CDs and DVDs. Thus far, 10 plants have been certified and 29 other plants have enrolled in the program.

When signing OMMA's covenant, companies agree to voluntary standards that include:

  • Adherence to national and international laws concerning piracy and intellectual property rights;
  • Cooperation with legal authorities and recognized industry associations in their fight against piracy;
  • Protection and promotion Intellectual Property rights awareness;
  • Delivering only products and/or services to verifiable customers;
  • Implementing anti-piracy procedures and controls as integral parts of their business processes; and
  • Promoting and supporting the importance of Source Identification Codes (SIC).

Although these voluntary pledges may seem obvious for legitimate companies, Van Horn points out that now, the commitment to combating piracy is in writing. He says, "This is the first step in developing a comprehensive program that could lead to more stringent guidelines to track where equipment and supplies are going. Remember, the replicators in the U.S. that were sued by RIAA were legitimate players also. They just got careless in their business procedures." Both IRMA and the OMMA initiatives are education programs designed to assist companies in developing good business practices that will help them avoid dealing with pirates.

According to Adrian Farmer, deputy chairman of Nimbus Technology and Engineering, who also serves as Chairman of OMMA, there are at least three reasons for OMMA's existence related to the manufacturing base. He says, "Piracy hurts our legitimate customers, who's profitability and growth potential are directly affected by illegal manufacturing. With over 700 CD plants world-wide, even legitimate vendors can be caught, and illegitimate ones can hide their actions. And, perhaps more importantly, there is as yet insufficient international legislation on which we can rely." OMMA members hope to accelerate the legislation by ensuring that their own house is in order and to establish a framework to give legislation a chance. OMMA will cooperate with content holders associations, and Farmer encourages them to involve OMMA in their discussions of any pending legislation.

To draw attention to this Anti-Piracy Covenant, OMMA plans to advertise directly to the industry. "We have a degree of optimism that comes from the initial reception to our endeavor," Farmer adds. The companies that have signed on so far include representatives from all facets of the manufacturing process including equipment and raw materials suppliers as well as service companies.

This new initiative parallels anti-piracy campaigns by other industry associations and is thought by many to be sorely needed in the software industry, which loses as much as $12 billion annually, worldwide. Music industry losses are reportedly $300 million /year in the U.S. and $4.5 million in foreign markets, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). (These figures are calculated by assessing each pirated copy as a lost sale, and multiplying said lost sales by approximate per-unit retail pricing.) In a relatively new arena for content theft, industry executives estimate that 270,000 films are downloaded off the Internet each day, a rate that is expected to rise to 3 million by 2002.

Additional information about OMMA's Covenant is available from Lambert Dielesen. OMMA secretary at omma@recordingmedia.com. IRMA can be reached at 609/279-1700 or can be found on the Web at www.recordingmedia.org.

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