AEPOC intensifies consultations against piracy with the Commission

Final year 2008 AEPOC meeting confirms positive outlook on Conditional Access Directive (CAD) development / High Level Expert Group on the CAD to meet in January 2009 / Next AEPOC convention to take place in the Czech Republic

(PresseBox) (Brussels, ) AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, intensifies consultations against piracy of audio-visual services: At the final year 2008 Board of Directors meeting held on December 9 in Brussels, AEPOC was joined by EU Commission Officials Mrs. Caroline Loup and Mr. Jean Bergevin from the Internal Market Directorate-General, providing a comprehensive update about the further development of the CAD and discussing this and adjacent legislative EU projects with AEPOC Members.

As of January 2009 the revision process of the Directive enters next operational steps with the creation and a first meeting of the "High Level Expert Group" including representatives of all 27 Member States. Recently the Commission issued its report on the CA-Directive 98/84/EC which takes up many of AEPOC's positions. AEPOC President Jean Grenier expressed the Association's commitment to the EU Officials to continue providing information support to the Commission and the Expert Group where practicable. Today, the CAD is already an effective legal tool to fight commercial piracy. Nevertheless EU countries see very different levels of law enforcement and also private piracy remains one of the burning issues.

President Jean Grenier said: "We are very happy to see that during 2008 the Commission has taken deliberate action and issued a report that considers piracy exactly as what it is: an important threat to the pay-TV and media markets. AEPOC has become a central point of dialogue for the Commission and we shall continue to do so, backed by AEPOC's 31 member strong knowledge base from all relevant sectors in the pay-TV industries: operators, set-top-box and device manufacturers, conditional access and technology companies as well as providers of transmission infrastructures."

Outside the EU legislative framework the Commission is in intense dialogue with the Council of Europe, which includes 47 Member States representing nearly all countries of the European continent, to also enhance law enforcement beyond EU borders to better combat illicit access to conditional access services. Also AEPOC considers piracy as a global problem and cooperates closely with national Anti-Piracy organisations all over Europe and internationally. Such local work is additionally facilitated by AEPOC's membership structure that includes non-European companies e.g. from Russia, Turkey or the Middle East. 2009 will also be the year for AEPOC to specifically support the Eastern European countries to better bring down piracy. AEPOC's commitment in form of the Budapest Agenda will take its next operational steps with the upcoming Board of Directors meeting to be held in the Czech Republic, planned for March - also in line with the country taking over EU Presidency as of January 2009.

Jean Grenier added: "In view of the world economic crisis, rules and respect of the laws are the fundamentals to find the right way for any business - and any citizen. Accordingly protection of content services remains the vital precondition to maintain existing consumer offerings across Europe, and hopefully to be able to introduce new, compelling media services also in the future. For too many parasitic entrepreneurs the Internet has become the dream place where one can make money with other people's work, and unfortunately for many consumers the web is the place where is seems possible to save money and violate property without feeling like a thief. Pirates do exploit this - and AEPOC is more than ever committed to shut down these activities which have the potential to endanger whole industry sectors."

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