Saturday

25th Feb 2017

Focus

European Parliament backs controversial anti-piracy report

  • Activists fear the Gallo report impinges on the freedom of the internet (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

The European Parliament on Wednesday (22 September) adopted a non-legislative report on enforcement of intellectual property rights, calling for tougher application of intellectual rights and copyright harmonisation at the EU level. Meanwhile, civil liberties activists warn that such moves would undermine fundamental freedoms in the bloc.

"Online piracy is an infringement of copyright and causes serious economic damage to artists, to creative industries and to all those whose jobs depend on these industries," Marielle Gallo, a French conservative MEP and author of the report said after 328 MEPs voted in favour of the proposal and 245 against.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The report asks the European Commission to propose a "comprehensive strategy" on intellectual property rights "which will remove obstacles to creating a single market in the online environment" and adapt an European legislative framework in the field.

In the resolution, MEPs also said that they do not agree with the commission's view that the current civil enforcement framework in the EU is sufficiently effective and harmonised. They asked the EU executive to "address urgently" the issue of multi-territory licences and the harmonisation of legislation on copyright, which, they believe, should improve access to digital markets by overcoming geographical borders.

While Ms Gallo said the text "makes no assumptions about any penalties that should be imposed and does not foresee a European 'Hadopi' law", critics warn it creates an opportunity for measures similar to French anti-piracy legislation, named for the new government agency created to hunt down online pirates that has the power to cut off internet access after 'three strikes' and even jail repeat offenders.

"The Gallo report is an illustration of the will of the entertainment industry to try to impose private copyright police and justice of the Net," said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for online civil liberties pressure group La Quadrature du Net, in reaction to the parliament's decision.

In the resolution, MEPs endorse additional non-legislative measures to improve the application of intellectual rights and back the commission's 2009 opinion encouraging governments to "take advantage of possible alternatives to court proceedings for settling disputes."

"Repressive schemes such as the 'three strikes' policies and other Internet access restrictions negate fundamental rights, such as the right to a fair trial, the freedom of communication or the right to privacy," Mr Zimmerman said.

The recording industry has welcomed the parliament's decision, calling it "a clear signal" that a more coordinated approach is needed.

"This is a timely and welcome message. Piracy is a major threat to jobs in Europe and it is a direct obstacle to legitimate enterprise in the music, book, film and other sectors," said Frances Moore, CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

The parliament, for its part, also rejected two alternative resolutions, one by the Greens and Socialists and another by the Liberals.

"It is ridiculous to equate private music downloading, for example, with commercial-product counterfeiting by organised criminals. We need to find new solutions that take account of the different types of intellectual property rights and reflect their impacts on consumer safety rights or health," Austrian Green MEP Eva Lichtenberger said.

The report also called on the commission to step up the pace in the negotiations over the multilateral Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a proposed global anti-piracy accord, and to ensure that the provisions of the agreement fully comply with existing EU rules on intellectual property rights.

The 11th round of the ACTA negotiations takes place in Tokyo from 23 September to 1 October, with Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US participating.

The latest version of the agreement, which was leaked after the Washington negotiations at the beginning of September leaves out an earlier reference to a three-strikes ban.

The pact would also ensure that internet service providers not be required to monitor their subscribers for uploading illegal content.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Searching for a voice and a standard bearer

As Britons come to terms with the reality of Brexit many Remainers are now listless, looking for someone to present a viable alternative to Theresa May's dominance

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations