Press release BoxID: 116256 (AEPOC Association Européenne pour la Protection des Œuvres et Services Cryptés)
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EU to strengthen co-ordinated actions against digital piracy putting in front dialogue with the industry

Anti-Piracy Association welcomes EU Commission’s initiative against cyber crime

(PresseBox) (Lisbon, ) .
- European Commission adopts the Communication towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime
- AEPOC underlines doubts about the effectiveness of the proposed IPR Directive
- Anti-Piracy Update: new law facilitates actions in Portugal
- AEPOC President Jean Grenier and Secretary General Davide Rossi confirmed
- New Members convened into the Association’s Board of Directors
- Christine Maury-Panis (Viaccess – France Telecom) and Michael Barley (BSkyB) appointed Vice Presidents

AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, welcomes the European Commission’s Communication “Towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime”, as agreed during the recent AEPOC Board of Directors and Ordinary General Assembly meeting, held on June 28 in Lisbon: The initiative – aimed at improving coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and private sector operators – shall be complemented by other actions taken at national, European and international level to fight cyber crime such as hacking and piracy of digital systems.

Vice-President Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, pointed to the need for a strong dialogue with the industry in order to make this policy effective. Besides the overall positive development of the Internet and digital information systems – giving rise to new rapid flows of information, products and services across the internal and external borders of the EU – the European Commission acknowledges the obvious difficulties of legislation and law enforcement to keep pace with the ever evolving forms and techniques of digital piracy and cyber crime in general.

AEPOC doubts effectiveness of proposed IPR Directive

At the same time, AEPOC underlines its strong concerns about the effectiveness of the proposed Directive for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). While AEPOC values the overall aim, the current proposal implies an adverse idea of legal piracy: The text expressively admits piracy committed by private users for non-profit purposes without any risk of sanction while a commercial activity shall be subject to severe consequences. AEPOC recommends to refine the definition of “commercial activity” to a more realistic view. As “private piracy“ may also reach important scale with relevant monetary savings realized, AEPOC proposes to foresee substantial legal consequences for obvious “heavy users” and more symbolic but real penalties for acts of individual cases of piracy, probably comparable to parking fines or similar more regulatory offences.

Davide Rossi, Secretary General AEPOC, commented: “In the ten years existence of our Association we have learned that co-operation is an effective tool to fight digital piracy. The collaborative work among our members is one good example of industry co-operation. Also, as to joint efforts with law enforcement entities, AEPOC members have successfully provided training sessions to EU Customs to learn practically about forms of pirated products. We therefore judge the EU initiative against cyber crime as a step into the right direction, possibly leading to considerable results by putting together the existing strengths of all stakeholders.“

AEPOC President Jean Grenier added: “AEPOC is highly interested to see this EU Communication become a tangible reality. AEPOC believes in co-operative approaches between authorities and the industry – and will certainly support any actions helping to develop a more coherent framework against piracy – and this on a cross-border level, including outside EU issues. As this initiative is mainly based on EU and international coordination, thus aiming to optimise existing legislative means – it should go hand-in-hand with sufficiently dissuasive laws in general. In the field of digital piracy, and more precisely regarding the Proposal of an IPR Directive, AEPOC sees the firm need for a stronger protection of copyright. We believe in the Commission’s fair balance to create a satisfactory solution also for the community of rights holders and creative artists.”

As regards next steps of the IPR Directive development, the Commission will prepare a revised proposal for the Council of the European Union to be transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading – this is not expected before Winter 2007. While AEPOC will continue its dialogue with different EU bodies and delegates, the Association welcomes EU Commissioner Günter Verheugen’s position, having expressed concerns with the Parliament’s proposed definition of “commercial scale”, anticipating an opposing opinion within the Commission to this amendment as proposed by the Parliament.

New law in Portugal: Anti-Piracy update

Manuel Rosa da Silva, Vice President of TV Cabo, hosting company of the AEPOC meeting in Lisbon, gave a comprehensive update on the market situation in Portugal and the company’s strong policy in the fight against digital piracy. TV Cabo, the country’s market leading pay-TV operator, now benefits from a new law – the Decree-Law 176/2007 of May 2007 – facilitating legal actions against audiovisual piracy.

This act foresees strong penalties for basically any contact to piracy equipment or illegal access to a pay-TV signal: Including private users, the use or possession of illicit apparatuses or unauthorised access is prohibited specifically by this new law.

While it is TV Cabo’s – and AEPOC’s – main goal to prevent illegal behaviour in the first place – no matter, if piracy is committed on a ‘private use’ or commercial basis – the company’s “Security and Fraud Combat Department” works closely with the Portuguese Judiciary Police as well as other national bodies, conducting successful anti-piracy investigations. In parallel, TV Cabo is investing in its advanced digital network technologies: currently, around 800.000 pay-TV smart cards are being swapped as an overall measure to prevent piracy.

Votes of AEPOC’s Ordinary General Assembly

During the Ordinary General Assembly session, AEPOC President Jean Grenier and Secretary General Davide Rossi have been confirmed in their positions for the next three years. Christine Maury-Panis, Viaccess – France Telecom, and Michael Barley, BSkyB, have been appointed AEPOC Vice Presidents. Marta Neves, TV Cabo Portugal, and Andreas Rudloff, Premiere, have been appointed members of the Board of Directors. Accordingly the new composition of the AEPOC Board of Directors is as follows: Mr. Jean Grenier, President AEPOC; Mr. Michael Barley (BSkyB), Vice President AEPOC; Mrs. Christine Maury-Panis (Viaccess – France Telecom), Vice President AEPOC; Mr. Davide Rossi, Secretary General AEPOC; Mr. Andrew Curle (Irdeto); Mr. Anthony Dixon (Pace); Mrs. Pascaline Gineste (Canal+); Mrs. Marine Jan (Nagravision); Mr. Chris Le Maitre (NDS); Mrs. Marta Neves (TV Cabo); Mr. Andreas Rudloff (Premiere); Mr. Luca Sanfilippo (Sky Italia); Mr. Didier Zwierski (Philips).