The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

It's looking more and more official that the European Commission  is getting ready to whip out pan-European proposals for Internet copyright enforcement. And according to new leaked information, it may even propose a deal to trade off multi-territory rights against the new  enforcement measures.


Did anyone notice the subtle hint in Michel Barnier's  speech at the end of last month to the Midem  annual music  industry fest in Cannes?  


Michel Barnier is European Commissioner for the Internal Market, and is responsible for IPR policy. He used the occasion of the MidemNet conference - a special event promoting  technology for the music business  -    to set out publicly some of the policy ideas which his DG is working on for 2011. He said there will be legislation on multi-territory rights. He promised  ‘an ambitious action plan' on enforcement. He raised, if I am not mistaken,  a possibility of a new  EU-wide copyright enforcement regime designed to address Internet issues. It was couched in Commisson-speak, but that is what it appeared to be saying.


In respect of

‘the fight against piracy' he said:


"I follow closely the legislation implemented or foreseen in several countries and which aim to find balanced and innovative responses to the issue of counterfeiting and piracy. I also follow closely the impact of such legislation on the functioning of the internal market and on the development of attractive legal offers. If necessary, drawing on the results of these national policies, I will stand ready to propose in the same way a European framework, as long as it presents a real added value."


So we must ask  how he means to ‘draw on the results of these national propose ...a European framework".


What national policies? What " legislation implemented or foreseen in several countries" ?   That surely would include the Hadopi law, Sinde's law and Digital Economy Act. 


What are  ‘innovative responses to the issue of counterfeiting and piracy" if not  3-strikes, and also  measures outlined in ACTA.


His speech substantiates the leaked information from the Stakeholder Dialogue on  Online copyright Infringement - the secret industry talks on Europe-wide Internet measures for copyright enforcement which his DG is hosting.   


 Indeed, a new leak suggests that  the European Commission has put forward of some kind of barter deal over copyright policy, specifically suggesting a trade-off  between multi-terrritory rights and  3-strikes.


Within the confines of the Dialogue,  the Commission has apparently told industry lobbyists   that it would bring in a new law on  multi-territory rights. The intention is to  enable pan-European sales of recorded music online and EU-wide streaming services. In the Commission's opinion, this change  would provide a business opportunity for the ISPs to run such services. In return, the ISPs would be asked to implement voluntary 3-strikes measures.


The talks have covered all aspects of a graduated response, including notifications, and technical measures. Indeed, an entire meeting was held with detailed presentations made  on technical measures, such as those in the UK's Digital Economy Act.


The Commission has stalled publication of a report on the talks. A draft  report was allegedly circulated last July to the attendees, covering the meetings held in February to June last year. The Commission has repeatedly said that it would be published but it has never been released.


Michel Barnier -  Copyright in the Digital Era 



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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2011) Barnier stands ready with  EU-wide IP enforcement proposals 7 February 2011







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