Why has CJCH Solicitors focused on anti-piracy? How much of a problem has piracy become for your clients?
Measuring the scale of the problem that piracy has become for our clients is near impossible. The internet revolutionised the world of information sharing, data management, communication and customer service, but it also offered those with devious tendencies the platform from which to launch any number of infringements on unsuspecting people and organisations.
The threat our clients face is the illegal and unauthorised use of their intellectual property. Our clients spend vast amounts of energy and resources on developing cutting edge technology and software only to have it pirated and stolen by individuals unwilling to pay for it. In these tough economic times, companies cannot afford for their products to be utilised without any return on their investment. This runs the risk of destabilising their research and development costs and can affect each company’s financial viability, which could lead to loss of business confidence and job security.
CJCH Solicitors focuses on anti-piracy and compliance (referred to in the industry as licence compliance) with the aim to provide a service to right a wrong. We use advanced techniques to identify illegal usage of our client’s work product, conduct detailed analysis through our diverse team of investigators and researchers, and facilitate enforcement and compliance on infringement parties. In addition to the issue of theft of property, increased use of illegal products creates a security risk not only to each individual company via malware and viruses but to the public at large through poor quality production and potentially dangerous products.
In what ways does CJCH plan to invest the Welsh government’s grant for a global IP anti-piracy HQ? What areas will you be focusing on?
The Welsh government grant was awarded in March, and we are excited about the prospects it introduces. As a Wales-based law firm, CJCH has grown our global footprint to be able to lead licence compliance and enforcement operations across no less than 36 countries. We have already begun packaging that depth of experience and thought leadership into a structured knowledge transfer and development programme, which we aim to expand through the introduction of the grant.
We are establishing a cyber protection and intellectual property hub in Cardiff, which we hope will be able to interact and collaborate with the greater cyber security industry. There are organisations such as the National Crime Agency, National Cyber Security Centre and the Government Communications Headquarters, as well as academic institutions such as Swansea University and the University of South Wales, which are all working towards understanding the world of cyber security and enhancing our ability to operate safely within it. We welcome their contributions to the community and aim to work alongside them in protecting the UK from online threats.
Regarding investments, CJCH is establishing a consulting firm that will operate in collaboration with CJCH Solicitors. We will be investing in developing local talent and sourcing global best practice to ensure that Wales and the greater UK has access to capable and highly skilled resources within the field of cyber protection and security. We have a 2020 plan to create 71 jobs in the area and are currently in the process of designing a graduate development programme to be introduced in 2018, with the potential of expanding to an apprentice program.
Our investment has two core focus points: firstly to deliver state of the art service and advice to our clients; and secondly, to expand the insight and knowledge needed to safeguard our community as we do it.
What further expansion does the 2020 plan envision?
In addition to continuing to grow our established licence compliance offering, CJCH is aiming to grow into parallel areas of cyber protection over time such as malware, ransomware, ethical hacking initiatives and broader training programmes.
Last month, we hosted a licence compliance-training programme with compliance officers and investigators from around the world. This was developed in conjunction with the University of South Wales, where we ran in-depth theoretical training along with practical simulated training using the university’s facilitates.
We are also currently in discussions with Swansea University to develop post-graduate level academic training and development initiatives to further expand the strength of the Welsh capability in cyber security.
We intend to be at the forefront of technical advances to stay abreast of the constantly changing technical environment
The development of artificial intelligence is one area we intend to focus on in the future, as we believe that, along with innovation and next generation identification techniques, it will drive further expansion and sophistication.
Where does CJCH see anti-piracy work being in the future? How will rights be infringed online?
This is a fascinating consideration. It begs the question, how far will criminals go?
There are wider factors and influences that need to be addressed. We need to be able to reverse engineer the criminal methodology in order to develop a solution or preventative measure. It’s a dynamic approach, and revolves around the short-termism of the solution, as the criminals are constantly working to find a way to reverse engineer the security measures, thereby creating a new criminal methodology.
The UK currently faces a potential lack of adequate talent coming up the ranks in cyber security and anti-piracy. Online criminals are constantly practising their skills, and becoming more sophisticated. We as the force against those criminals need to expand our capabilities. This is why we are working with academic partners to address issues such as cultural acceptance of infringed product use. By developing citizen awareness of the unseen dangers, threat to personal safety and personal economic well-being, it will enable the reduction in impact of this crime.
Piracy will continue to grow. As long as there is innovation and development, there will be someone wanting to benefit from it undeservedly. The online pirates will continue to cultivate their craft, and learn from their mistakes. Each time their unlawful duplication of licensed software is identified, they will look for ways to try again.
Businesses will continue to face issues of piracy, ransomware and distributed denial-of-service attacks. Corporates face an enhanced vulnerability through the internet of things and the increase of connected devices having access to their networks.
The solution is not necessarily to prevent device usage but to elevate security measures on the network. For private individuals, social engineering, the practice of using readily available personal information posted online to gain trust or access, will continue to post a threat for email phishing and identity theft. As we move towards the future, it is critical that we as the protective forces stay one step ahead of the criminals by growing a talent pipeline of sophisticated digital compliance officers.