SCOTT JAGOW: The E.U. may move closer today to a Europe-wide penalty for counterfeiting and piracy. Our correspondent Stephen Beard joins us from London. Stephen, what are the particulars?

STEPHEN BEARD: This measure, if passed, would impose and harmonize a Europe-wide criminal penalty for counterfeiting and intellectual piracy. And we'd be talking about up to four years in jail and fines of up to $120,000 — three times that amount, $360,000 if it's organized crime involved or there's a risk to health and safety in counterfeited goods.

JAGOW: Well Stephen, how bad of a problem is counterfeiting in Europe?

BEARD: It is particularly a problem in Britain actually. You go to markets here and you'll see designer handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes all branded but the branding is not what it seems. They are in fact fake. It's a huge industry in the U.K. They reckon the profits are something like $17 or $18 billion a year.

JAGOW: OK Stephen, thank you.

BEARD: OK Scott.

JAGOW: Stephen Beard in London.