EU Enforcement Directive falls far short of providing urgently needed tools to tackle piracy
Brussels, 30 January, 2003
Europe's creative sector today expressed its dismay at the draft EU Enforcement Directive adopted by the European Commission. The Commission's proposal is inadequate in view of the magnitude of the piracy problem and fails to introduce urgently needed measures to hold back the epidemic of counterfeiting. The creative sector has been extremely supportive of the Commission's initiatives on piracy, but the current proposal falls far short of providing the legal framework necessary to fight piracy in all its forms in the EU.
A strong Enforcement Directive is essential to the creative sector, which is plagued by unacceptable levels of piracy throughout the Internal Market. In Europe, film, video, music, business and leisure software industries alone suffer losses in excess of €4.5 billion annually.
The creative sector is currently fighting a tide of counterfeiting that undermines investment in European culture, costs national economies thousands of jobs and robs government treasuries of millions of Euros in lost tax revenues. This at a time when economic recession is looming and the Single Market is failing to deliver its promises. The EU cannot hope to attain its goal of becoming the world's leading knowledge-based economy if it does not aggressively tackle this epidemic.
Work on an Enforcement Directive was undertaken four years ago with the aim of preventing pirates from taking advantage of inconsistencies and weaknesses that currently exist in national laws. But the Commission's unambitious draft Directive fails to introduce harmonisation at the levels necessary to ensure that pirates can no longer play on national differences to avoid detection and prosecution. In fact, implementation of the Directive in its current form would cause confusion and perpetuate a patchwork of different legal measures and procedures across the EU.
The creative sector is concerned that the tools the proposal introduces to bring actions against infringers do not even reach the levels already available under some existing national laws. In fact, certain parts of the draft may fall short of international standards of intellectual property protection. The proposal creates a two-tier system of enforcement where some types of piracy are acceptable and others not.
Piracy rates are set to increase when the EU enlarges next year to include countries with an average piracy rate of 50%, reaching highs in certain countries of 80 - 95%. The draft Directive does not do enough to encourage accession countries to enforce intellectual property rights rigorously.
While national governments and the creative sector are stepping up the fight against piracy, the draft Directive gives the wrong political signal. The creative sector is now looking to the European Parliament to extend the scope of this draft legislation and substantially strengthen its measures. The European Parliament in May 2000 demanded an ambitious proposal on piracy and counterfeiting in a unanimous vote on the Commission's Green Paper, the forerunner of the current proposal.
BSA - Business Software Alliance
IFPI - International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
MPA - Motion Picture Association
IVF - International Video Federation
ISFE - Interactive Software Federation of Europe
FIAPF - International Association of Film Producers Associations
IMPALA - Independent Music Companies Association
EFCA - European Film Companies Alliance
FEP - Federation of European Publishers
GESAC - European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers