Everyone is talking about EU copyright reform. However, in the European Parliament, everyone is having the same discussions on enforcement that they were having ten years ago – and talking about stopping any reform.
The Draft Report “Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan” (2014/2151(INI)) presented by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Pavel Svoboda reacts supportively to the rather bland, regressive and unimaginative Commission Communication of the same name. Sadly, Mr Svoboda seems to be choosing to support the mistakes that the Commission’s view that the failures of the last ten years should be the model for the next decade.
On 11 March 2015, Minister for Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin presented the Government’s strategy for combating piracy on the Internet to the Council of Ministers. Apart from the graduated response applied to illegal downloading implemented by France’s high authority for the distribution of works and the protection of rights on the Internet (Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Oeuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet - HADOPI), which remains in place, the action plan is also aimed at streaming sites and referencing, which benefit from pirated works. Three series of measures were presented.
In the framework of the Cannes Festival a symposium on copyright was organized with the participation of Günther Oettinger Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. The European Commission put forward an extensive action plan to create a unified EU digital market and a reformed and unique EU copyright instead of having 28 national ones.
EU leaders discussed a European Commission plan for a digital single market at the second day of their summit on Friday (26 June), but there are already signs that member states prefer to pick and choose from the list of initiatives which was supposed to be a package deal.
If national governments do end up stripping down the strategy, presented by commissioners Andrus Ansip and Guenther Oettinger last month, it will be a repetition of what happened to the previous commission's digital action plan.
Despite the fast pace of the digital developments, the member states have not been able to match that pace when it comes to finding agreement with the European Parliament on a previous commission plan called Connected Continent, also known as the Telecoms Single Market package. The plan was introduced by then digital commissioner Neelie Kroes in September 2013. It aimed to introduce EU-wide rules for telecoms operators, increase consumer rights, and coordinate the assignment of radio spectrum at an EU level.