EU hits out at internet piracy

2011-05-25 07:32

Brussels - The EU mounted an offensive on Tuesday against online music and film piracy, with plans to rewrite intellectual property law across the EU market of half a billion consumers.

Registered cases of counterfeiting and product piracy at the borders of the 27-state single market rocketed between 2005 and 2009, the latest period for which the European Commission gave figures, logging more than 43 000 infringements.

Officials say piracy has cost the European music, movie, TV and software industries $14bn and more than 185 000 jobs in 2008 - but consumers the world over now expect easy online access to cheap entertainment through a variety of delivery models.

The EU executive says it will target the problem "at source", going by plans drawn up for Financial Services Commissioner Michel Barnier and taxation counterpart Algirdas Semeta, and seek action by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Just in 2009, EU customs intercepted 40 000 suspect shipments involving 118 million items - but tracking is now causing exponential problems whether online or in millions of small postal consignments, hence the focus on the online channels to audiences.

European Commission proposals say Brussels "will identify ways to create a framework allowing, in particular, combating infringements of intellectual property rights via the internet more effectively".

The detail says amendments to existing legislation "should have as their objective tackling the infringements at their source and, to that end, foster co-operation of intermediaries, such as ISPs".

A commission official admitted it was "too early" to say exactly what could be done.

Unjustifiable obligations

Thierry Dieu of European telecoms operators industry association Etno warned the commission must "avoid imposing disproportionate and unjustifiable obligations on internet access providers, such as de facto surveillance of products distributed across their networks".

He argued that the EU should concentrate instead on boosting the availability of bona fide material and "accessible" pricing models encouraging growth in these channels.

The music industry in particular is undergoing massive restructuring to reinvent distribution and revenue models, but the internet sales platform also affects creative industries covering everything from make-up to drinks.

The commission's ambitions in this domain, likely to run into countless industry and overseas trading obstacles, also cover everything from patents and trademarks to geographical indicators for products such as Scotch whisky as well as customs issues and the digital libraries of the future.

The idea is to try and "strike the right balance" between protecting, rewarding and encouraging creativity and innovation, seen as a key element in economic growth, while "promoting the widest possible access to goods and services", the commission said.

Copyright-based creative industries were credited with delivering 3.3% of EU economic output in 2006, accounting for some 8.5 million jobs from the individual artist to big pharmaceutical companies.

Read more on:    eu  |  europe  |  internet  |  music

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Best ‘glamping' spots in the Western Cape

You can get the best of both worlds of camping and luxury living with ‘glamping'.



6 hiking routes you have to try
South African woman learns to surf at age 70
Pedal power to hit Kouga this May
Watch! Extreme Kiteboarding in pumping Cape Town conditions!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

You have a strong desire to share your ideas and communicate with significant people. Slow down a bit and make sure that the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.