U.S. pans Euro piracy plan

BRUSSELS — U.S. movie industry representatives fear that European Commission proposals designed to combat piracy on the Internet and other electronic networks, due to be unveiled today, do not go far enough to protect copyright holders against illegal copying of films and music.

Despite a concerted campaign to tackle the problem, international piracy costs members of the Motion Picture Assn. an estimated $2.5 billion in lost revenues every year.

Although the MPA has worked closely with a broad ad hoc coalition of copyright holders in Europe to try to strengthen the commission’s draft legislation, Chris Marcich, the MPA’s topper in Brussels, said the hardware and online service provider interests “have gotten the upper hand.”

The European Assn. of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers, meanwhile, not satisfied with the ground they have already gained, issued a statement Tuesday arguing that the commission’s copyright plans are “a threat to Europe’s possibilities to participate in the worldwide development of the information society, and in the end could well deny the consumer a normal use of their audio and video recorders.”

European consumer groups also back the stance taken by hardware and online service providers, and have said the commission’s current draft “severely limit consumers’ existing rights to access and fair use of information” in their homes

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