In the midst of steady and significant piracy rates in Romania, enforcement conditions have only deteriorated. High-level Romanian authorities support the private sector in promoting anti-piracy messages, but their efforts have not translated into concrete steps to bring copyright criminals to justice, and enforcement actions in the past year have dropped. As a result, piracy remains widespread in Romania for all forms of copyright works, especially in the online space, where international pirates seek safe haven from better-enforced terrain elsewhere in Europe. Making matters worse, in 2013 the Court of Appeal held that the making available right in Romania is subject to mandatory collective administration, contradicting Romania’s obligations under the WIPO Treaties to provide an exclusive making available right and the means to enforce it. We encourage the Romanian Government to address this troubling development, adapt the country’s laws to the modern environment, encourage a national policy of cooperation against online infringement, ensure police officials are competent and well-equipped to conduct raids and investigations efficiently, and give targeted prosecutors and courts the authority and training to bring piracy cases to speedy conclusion, with deterrent sentences and penalties. The support and assistance of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest continues to be an invaluable part of the continued effort to address these crucial issues.
Over the past several weeks, there have been several developments concerning Australia's recently-proposed online copyright enforcement reforms. Particularly, the Australian government is in the process of adopting reforms that would allow owners of copyright-protected works and other authorized parties (collectively, "Rights Holders") to petition Australian Courts for an injunctive order to directly block foreign-hosted websites from accessing Australia. Although these proposed measures will arguably provide Rights Holders greater means to enforce rights in their works across borders, they pose a number of potentially problematic issues.
New reports indicate that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators have agreed to language that would bind its 12 signatory nations to extend copyright terms to match the United States' already excessive length of copyright. Nations including Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Canada would all be required to extend their terms and grant Big Content companies lengthy exclusive rights to works for no empirical reason. This means that all of the TPP's extreme enforcement provisions would apply to creative works for upwards of 100 years.
These are the terms of the proposal, revealed by several leaks of the TPP Intellectual Property chapter: If the copyright holder is an individual, the minimum copyright term would extend to the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after her death. This means restrictions could easily be in place for a century after a work is created. In the case of works with corporate authors, the term extends to 95 years from the first publication, or if not published within 25 years of its creation, 120 years from then. These terms go far beyond what is required by international standards set out in the Berne Convention (WIPO) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
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.
EFF together with a coalition of other organizations from both sides of the Atlantic have formulated an open letter presenting their views on why a result that threatens open wireless would be a serious loss to innovators, small businesses, travellers, emergency services and users at large.
The main question point in CJEU case McFadden (C-484/14) is whether locking of open wireless networks would be a proportionate enforcement mechanism that advances the public interest. The case concerns a German shopkeeper whose free open wireless network was allegedly used to infringe copyright. In the preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Europe's highest court is asked whether an enforcement practice requiring open wireless networks to be locked is an acceptable one.
Germany's Federal Supreme Court in 2010 held that the private operator of a wireless network is obliged to use password protection in order to prevent abuse by third parties. If the CJEU affirms this finding, the effect could be to extend this bad precedent throughout Europe, grounding the open wireless movement across the continent. If on the other hand it rejects that finding, German law will allow thousands of hotspot operators to open up their networks again.
The new Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports announced to make another reform of the Copyright Act. This "partial" reform intends to address the measures taken at the level of the European Union against downloads on peer-to-peer networks. In addition, the Minister also mentioned reform measures on how the Spanish films are financed, hoping to achieve "greater transparency in financial management".
Prior to this announcement, the minister showed statistics on the copyright enforcement measures taken by the Second Committee of the Intellectual Property. Prior to the Committee's establishment, there were 30 torrent portals among the 250 most visited websites in Spain. Now the numbers dropped to 13.