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AEPOC: “Piracy is the number one enemy of the EU information society threatening digital growth and media convergence”
European Anti-Piracy Association recommends 360-degree review of EU legislative framework
AEPOC Board of Directors’ Meeting in Paris
- AEPOC re-addresses audio-visual piracy issues in view of EU-Directives on Conditional Access and IPR Criminal Enforcement
- Global scale conditional access piracy and copyright infringement strikes back at EU-media markets calling for enhanced EU legislative framework
- AEPOC welcomes decision of the EU Council Customs resolution against counterfeiting and piracy
Triple and multi-play propositions of the media industries continue to successfully build the basis for an European information society while piracy is still the central threat to the development and benefits of media convergence. The Board of Directors’ Meeting of AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, held in Paris on April 6, agreed to re-address major Conditional Access issues at the EU Commission: Directives currently under review or in preparation must contain more precise and far-sighted provisions on audio-visual piracy. AEPOC underlined that piracy continues to be the biggest inhibitor of digital growth limiting its beneficial aspects in view of the EU information society.
“Instead of considering other issues already covered by different Directives, the review of the Conditional Access Directive should put piracy and the overall fight against its negative effects for our societies into the focus of this legislation. Piracy is the number one enemy of the EU information society – threatening digital growth and convergence, while media, telecommunication and technology companies continuously present new and innovative multi-play consumer offerings across Europe”, says AEPOC President Jean Grenier.
Currently the European Commission is starting the process for a possible review of the Conditional Access Directive (98/84/EC). AEPOC representatives will meet several national and European authorities, addressing the anti-piracy positions of AEPOC, in order to enable a sustainable development of the digital media sectors.
In this context, AEPOC welcomes the proposal for a new Criminal Enforcement Directive aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs). However, AEPOC recommends to explicitly extend the scope of this draft Directive to Conditional Access, besides Brands and General Copyrights, which shall be covered by this legislation. The directive will lay down the measures necessary to ensure enforcement of IPRs with a sufficiently dissuasive set of penalties applicable throughout the Community.
Moreover, AEPOC members increasingly report cases of piracy and copyright fraud from outside EU countries, that strike back at the European markets. Just recently, aided through peer-to-peer and server-based technologies, an incident of re-broadcasting occurred in China, that enabled viewers to illegally access contents all around the world.
Also in light of these emerging phenomena, AEPOC sees a strong need to review the EU’s overall legislative framework on audio-visual piracy, taking more explicitly into account threats from new technologies – arising from international breeding grounds of piracy, that may have lesser legislation, but also from piracy circles within EU countries. As such illegal services enter the EU via anonymous Internet detours but directly affect the European media markets, AEPOC suggests as a first step to name the Conditional Access Directive within the preamble of the new Television Without Frontiers Directive.
“Discussions with EU representatives and AEPOC will treat the topics of new Internet based and international piracy, that call the scope of existing EU anti-piracy legislation into question, demanding a 360-degree review. A sustainable development of the EU information society can only be achieved with sufficient protection from illicit actions – currently the EU can be entered by too many backdoors for pirates”, summarizes AEPOC Secretary General Davide Rossi.
AEPOC welcomes Council Resolution on Customs Union
In 2005 AEPOC members had started offering training sessions to European Customs officials in order to be able to more easily detect pirate pay-TV set-top-boxes and stop illicit trade. In this context AEPOC is delighted to hear the resolution of the Council of the European Union on Customs Union concerning Counterfeiting and Piracy. The resolution recognizes the threat posed by the serious growth in counterfeiting and piracy to the Union’s knowledge-based economy and the key responsibility of customs in protecting the economy and consumers from this threat. The resolution details the need for efficient customs controls and suggests concrete actions to improve controls among others by international co-operation with relevant organisations. AEPOC member companies have already decided to continue providing support for European customs with the next sessions scheduled in France.
The AEPOC Board of Directors’ meeting was kindly hosted by AEPOC member Eutelsat and joined by guest speakers from Melita Cable, television and telecommunication provider on the Islands of Malta and Gozo, as well as Italian broadband multi-play service company Fastweb. The next AEPOC Board of Directors’ meeting and General Assembly are scheduled for June in Switzerland.
Note: Please find attached as separate pdf-file the full text of the Council Resolution on Customs Union and Counterfeiting and Piracy as extract of a press release of the Council of the European Union of March 13 2006.
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