On 29 November, the EU Commission presented measures to “ensure intellectual property rights are well protected” by targeting piracy, counterfeiting and standard essential patents (SEP).
While the commission’s SEP plans were generally well received, the IFPI said that the EU’s guidance on piracy was merely a “non-binding communication”.
The commission’s guidance outlines ways to stop counterfeiting and piracy by adopting a “follow the money” approach, which targets “big fish” rather than individuals.
It provided clarification on how to apply the 2004 directive on the enforcement of IP rights (IPRED).
The commission’s vice president responsible for jobs, growth investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, said that the guidance “improves the application and enforcement of intellectual property rights and encourages investment in technology and product development in Europe”.
But IFPI CEO Frances Moore said that, while the commission recognised the need to modernise IPRED, “soft law does not give rightsholders the tools they need to take effective action against pirate services”.
He added: “Intellectual property rights are the backbone of Europe’s creative industries. Cross-border access to content has been a signature success of the music industry in recent years, but cross-border protection has been lagging.”
“The IPRED law designed to provide that protection is almost 15 years old and is in need of major changes, for example by providing for speedier and more effective injunctions.”
He stated: “The reality is that when our rights are infringed - for example by a site like The Pirate Bay—we have to take cases one member state at a time. This is costly, slow, legally incoherent and flies in the face of the single market concept.”
Moore concluded: “We remain in a successful single market for consumption, but a fragmented European market for copyright enforcement. We urge the Commission to use this package as a stepping stone to a fully revised and updated IPRED to be provided in the near future and give European right holders the necessary tools to tackle copyright infringement.”