The net around software pirates is being tightened with a pact between 37 countries being signed in a bid to fight counterfeit goods.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) commits the 37 countries that have signed it, including the European Community and the US, Japan and others to make damages ready to copyright holders that are hit by piracy.
The US government has championed ACTA which has been holding negotiation rounds over the to get more countries to sign up to the agreement which "aims to establish international standards for enforcing intellectual property rights in order to fight more efficiently the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy".
The agreement from 37 countries to ACTA provides a more standard response to piracy although China, which was highlighted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week for having a lax attitude to intellectual property, was missing from the list.
Copyright holders with a case to argue against an infringer would have the chance to go for criminal penalties to recoup commercial losses, a development that has been seen by some as helping dissuade piracy.
This is an important treaty. It creates robust new tools comparable to those already in place in the United States to help curb counterfeiting and piracy, a $51bn problem globally for the software industry," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance.