European Parliament adopts Declaration against Piracy in Europe
Euro MPs send strong political signal that piracy is unacceptable
Strasbourg, June 5th, 2003
The European Parliament tonight sent an important political signal that piracy will not be tolerated, when it adopted a Declaration on the Fight against Piracy and Counterfeiting in the Enlarged EU. A majority of Euro MPs signed the Declaration that calls for concerted action against the alarming levels of piracy in the Member States and the piracy epidemic in the EU accession countries of Eastern Europe.
Piracy is doing serious damage to a wide range of industries in the EU, including the music sector. The Declaration notes that counterfeiting and piracy leads to an average loss of 17,000 jobs a year in the EU and millions in lost tax revenue for governments. It also acknowledges that organised crime networks use profits from the pirate trade to finance other crimes such as drug trafficking.
IFPI, the organisation representing the recording industry, welcomed the adoption of the Declaration. Frances Moore, IFPI European Regional Director, said: "We have been fighting piracy for some time, but we always knew that real progress would only come when there was a serious political commitment from governments. This Declaration demonstrates the political will that is needed to tackle the extent of the piracy problem facing the music sector and other creative industries today. It is particularly important at a time when the European Parliament is reviewing the proposed new anti-piracy legislation contained in the EU Enforcement Directive."
According to European Commission figures, seizures of pirate optical discs (CDs, DVDs, CD-Roms) rose by 15,300% since 1999. Pirate CDs, a huge illegal business, account for nearly half the EU's estimated 2 billion Euro pirate and counterfeiting business.
The Declaration calls on European Council and Commission to ensure that forthcoming legislation provides strong, harmonised civil sanctions for any intellectual property infringement and tough criminal penalties for commercial scale counterfeiting.
In their Declaration, Euro MPs urge the EU institutions to promote better cross border co-operation between law enforcement authorities in the Member States in addition to strengthening the role of Europol in combating counterfeiting and piracy. They also ask for action to raise consumer awareness about the economic and cultural damage done by this illegal trade.
A group of Euro MPs wore T shirts during the plenary session in Strasbourg this week proclaiming "Piracy is not a Victimless Crime" and urged their colleagues to sign the Declaration. Five Euro MPs jointly sponsored the Declaration:
Arlene McCarthy (UK Socialist)
Following the successful adoption of the Declaration, Arlene McCarthy MEP said: "This Declaration must be a wake up call to governments to make a priority of tackling the growing piracy problem. Piracy undermines intellectual property, but also poses risks for consumer health and safety."
For the Declaration to be adopted by the Parliament, it had to be signed by a majority of the 623 Euro MPs within a period of three months. Due to strong cross-party support for the initiative, this target was achieved well ahead of the June 26th deadline. It becomes only the fifth Parliamentary Declaration to be adopted since the current Parliament took up office in 1999.
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