Piracy punished ...

publication date 20.06.2010

Modern pirates do not wear blindfolds, but the suits.

It is generally acknowledged that ignoring the good manners is not usually worth while. Piracy, as a demonstration of ruthless greed, is without doubt in contradiction with the good manners.  

Initially, it was assaulting, taking and raiding merchant ships. According to the international law, pirates, who would commit robberies and prevent sea trade, were regarded by sovereign states as enemies of the mankind. The act of piracy would be punished with the capital punishment. Our contemporary law is lacking a similar article.  

As of late, whe have only seen the verdict regarding Somali sea pirates given by a court of law in Amsterodam, the Netherlands. It was the first such lawsuit in Europe after several hundreds of years. They have been sentenced to five years in prison, when the court have applied the law against „sea robbing“ from the 17th century. 

The piracy poses a global problem even now, yet in the figurative meaning of the word.  It involves primarily the Internet and software piracy consisting in illegal downloads of movies, music and other activities in which copyright is being routinely disregarded. The scale of piracy in the EU alone amounts to hundreds of billions of crowns per annum worth of financial losses, and piracy is a punishable criminal offence.

Holes in legislation 

Wilfully taking possession of the name of an already existing company surely comes under the category of piracy. Unfortunately, even here, one can find holes in the legislation, when the so-called registration courts today are not obliged to check - and so they do not - whether any name of a newly-established company has been used by another legal entity, a citizens´association, for instance. This si why it may happen, and it does happen, that there appear to be two companies on the market with an identical or similar name which has been acquired in a piratic way and is meant to deceive the public.  

The story of TDS Brno

What we are about to deal with further is a local story from Brno, yet with some national, even international ramifications, for the company given below is registered internationally, although through its trade association of The Czech Welders´ Society.  

The trading company concerned is TDS Brno-SMS, s.r.o which has, in this particulal case, without authorization and in the pirate-like manner, used the name and transferred to itself every competence of an already existing legal entity in nearly the same branch of business. The company affected was TDS Brno-Sekce materiálu a svařování, an organizational unit of Technický dozorčí spolek Brno, s.r.o.  (Technical Supervisory Syndicate) and a citizens´ association registered nearly twenty years ago. The two names are obviously identical.

In defence of the company´s piratic practice, their counsel said:  „TDS is quite an appealing name ….“ What an incredible form of advocating bad manners and a flagrant attempt to legalize piracy! 

As is generally known, in such cases, one can sue for the desired name change and an adequate financial satisfaction, but it will take a number of long years, as it is in this particular case. Indeed, it was a thorny path leading through The Regional Court to The High Court of Justice in the city of Olomouc which finally agreed with the citizens´ association and commanded that the wicked company should alter its name it had illegally taken possession of and unscrupulously been using within 10 days. The result can only be evaluated as a punished act of piracy.  

So did the Regional Court stated, for the record, when, in the verdict, it identified the behaviour of the company´s owner, Ing.Kudělka, who had been willfully using the name TDS Brno, as one in conflict with the good manners, in other words, as piracy. Luckily for him, the court could not refer to the aforesaid 17th century legislation.  

It has been a most gratifying finding for all of us -  an unambiguous reference to an individual´s moral standards, as well as a virtual warning against the ethical standards of the respective company. It is also a clear proof that, in the democratic society, no unlawful acts and no piratic behaviour contradicting ethical and the generally acknowledged moral standards have been and will be tolerated.

Jiří Noss

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