EC Goes Touchy-Feely On Piracy Fight, Out Of Step With Many Rightsholders


No new laws are needed to tackle piracy, according to the European Commission, which says information sharing and research between nations is the solution.

Internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy on Monday released a “communication” proposing ways to counter the “dramatic and damaging effect” of counterfeiting and piracy. Full document (pdf).

But its preference of collaboration and research instead of stronger Europe-wide laws will not impress the music and film industries, nor states like the UK, France and Sweden that have already moved to implement their own tough-minded policies involving eventual internet disconnection and legal action for persistent offenders.

Not long after that was released John Kennedy, CEO of global music industry body IFPI, cautiously welcomed the plan’s general aim of reducing piracy, but added: “It is also important that the commission is recognising… that action is needed now. Past experience has shown that such a non-legislative approach, while an excellent platform, does have its limits in delivering real change.”

What is McCreevy actually suggesting? He’s created a “EU observatory” comprising national government figures, private sector officials and consumers to “collect data on and analyse the scale of the problem… promote best practices and strategies.” Also, he suggests using undefined “collaborative voluntary arrangements” to resolve copyright disputes — despite a lack of real detail on what these agreements would be, the EC suggests they could be “the foundation for best practice at global level“.

All this completely misjudges the mood of the content industries, which long ago moved on from discussing piracy and asking consumers to nicely to buy their content instead of steal it. Content companies and lobby groups would much rather consider whom next to sue and continue convincing pro-business administrations in London and Paris that action is needed now.

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