A new corporate anti-piracy policeman has appeared, with backing from the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce).

Meeting at EMI headquarters iin London, top business leaders yesterday announced a new coalition to fight intellectual property abuse "Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy" (BASCAP).

Stressing the economic costs (assessed at $600 billion annually) and threat to public health of shoddy goods, multiple industries are represented in the organisation. To help justify their position, they cited Interpol's assessment of increasing links between organised crime and piracy. 

BASCAP has agreed to a four-point action plan, urging governments to take steps against piracy and counterfeiting. They want to increase awareness of the problem and ensure rules to protect their property are raised worldwide.

To help achieve these aims, members will share strategies and create a global compendium of case studies and statistics, while launching an education and awareness campaign and taking targeted international action against pirates.

Jean-René Fourtou, chairman of the supervisory board at Vivendi Universal and BASCAP co-chairman, said: "The aim of BASCAP is twofold. To ensure governments now turn words into action and to help them raise awareness among the public of the seriousness of the problem."

BASCAP co-chairman and chairman of EMI Eric Nicoli added: "We live in an age where virtually every sector in every country on the planet is contaminated by piracy and counterfeiting and this is having devastating effects on our businesses, the economy and wider society."