The European Commission has launched an action plan to deal with infringement of intellectual property rights within the EU and a strategy for protecting IP outside of the region.
The EU said that it will adopt a ‘follow the money’ approach, which involves attempting to prevent commercial-scale IP infringement rather than penalising individuals.
Europe’s commercial broadcasters immediately welcomed the action plan. Their industry group, the Association of Commercial Television, noted that its members face a major challenge in securing their content online with streaming and downloading taking place within and outside the EU.
“Piracy and unauthorised distribution of TV content impacts on commercial broadcasters’ ability to invest in the next season of creative, journalistic and sporting programmes,” said Ross Biggam, ACT’s director general.
He added: “Currently around 40% of European commercial broadcasting groups’ revenues are reinvested in programme content, totalling €15 billion (US$20.5 billion) a year or €41 million a day. We therefore welcome this evidence that the European Commission takes seriously the enforcement of intellectual property rights and we are optimistic that the new tools will over time play a part in decreasing commercial-scale infringement.”
The EU action plan will involve a training programme for member states’ authorities that will help them act swiftly in case of IP infringement, the exchange of best practices among member states and an ongoing dialogue with IP owners.
In terms of the international protection of intellectual property rights, the European Commission proposes IP working groups with non-EU countries, surveys to identify priority countries where efforts will be concentrated and help-desks to aid IP owners.
All of the IP protection steps will be put into action this year and next with the Commission deciding at an unspecified later stage whether it needs to introduce concrete legislation to back up the IP initiatives.