EU Commission Set to Unveil New Anti-Piracy Action Plans

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The EU Commission will next week announce new strategies for dealing with online piracy and counterfeiting. These non-legislative measures will include an EU action plan aimed at fighting IP infringement, plus a strategy to protect and enforce IP rights in third countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the aim is to "follow the money".

europe-flagWhile much of the last decade-and-a-half’s fight against piracy has taken place on the national level, the attempted introduction of ACTA and similar legislation showed that broader approaches are increasingly under consideration.

In an announcement timetabled for July 1, the EU Commission will reveal the adoption of two sets of measures designed to promote “greater respect” for intellectual property rights in the European Union and beyond.

Firstly, the EU will announce the adoption of an action plan to fight infringement of intellectual property rights across Europe. The second will see the adoption of a strategy for the protection and enforcement of the same in third countries.

The EU action plan will comprise ten specific mechanisms which will provide new “policy enforcement tools” to counter intellectual property infringement being carried out on a commercial scale. This suggests a targeting of sites and services, rather than their users.

According to the Commission, commercial activities represent a major challenge for the EU due to the harm they cause, including the undermining of both investment in innovation and the creation of jobs.

Rather than going down the complex and expensive legal route to tighter enforcement, the EU says its new tools will be “non-legislative” in nature and will seek to “follow the money” in order to deprive commercial offenders of income.

The announcement in respect of third countries will outline plans to strengthen cooperation between the authorities, including customs authorities in the EU and those elsewhere. Common objectives will include preventing the spread of infringing content and the stimulation of investment, growth and employment through debate and awareness.

The “follow the money” approach is definitely the anti-piracy strategy that has been met with the least opposition over the last couple of years. The work with brands and their advertisers plus payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard to stop doing business with pirate sites has been well received by industry and appears to be gaining traction. Progress is being reported in the United States and more recently the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit detailed its own successes.

The full details of the new action plans will be made available by the EU in a little over a week’s time.

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