EU guns for pirates

Report says Europe needs to step up efforts

BRUSSELS — Europe must work harder to prevent pay TV, radio and Internet piracy, according to a report published Tuesday by the European Union.

“An early and powerful signal may prevent a level of tolerated and socially accepted piracy, as is currently noticed in the field of digital music,” the report said.

The survey also said Europe’s couch potatoes should get legal access to satellite TV channels from other EU countries, as this access is one of the major factors that encourages people to buy pirate pay TV cards.

For the moment, pay TV operators won’t offer services to European viewers outside their home market, as they sign deals only with intellectual property and other rights holders country by country.

“EU citizens fail to understand why they cannot get legitimate access to protected pay TV services, even if they are prepared to pay,” the report said.

The report updated progress on implementing the EU’s directive on legal protection of electronic pay services, passed in 1998. Brussels has taken action against Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain for not putting measures in place.

Electronic piracy jumps

The European Commission, the EU’s operative arm, declined to give detailed figures, but said electronic piracy had risen fivefold since 1996.

Regulators also will call on EU member states to cooperate more closely in enforcing antipiracy laws to ensure pirates find no safe havens.

The study argued industry experts should cooperate with national governments to fight piracy, as in Italy where the ministry of the interior and the audiovisual industry arranged a seminar for police.

The European Parliament shortly is due to debate the enforcement directive, which introduces laws on piracy and counterfeiting of music, movies and software.

Several Parliament members are campaigning for the directive to be strengthened, supporting European industry claims that it does not go far enough.

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