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Europe’s Film, TV Industries Hit Out at New EU Copyright Plans

Europe’s film and TV industries say they are teetering on the edge of disaster as the European Union finalizes new copyright regulation.

At the Berlin Film Festival on Friday, global producers’ association Fiapf, whose members include Hollywood’s MPAA, and the Independent Film & TV Alliance both sought to clarify what’s at stake for Europe’s film and TV industries. That followed protests Thursday by 14 worldwide film and television trade bodies that contend the current EU proposals would relax copyright enforcement for tech giants such as YouTube and Google.

Fiapf and IFTA’s biggest concern is the responsibility borne by content-sharing services and online providers to address piracy on their platforms. Procedures for copyright enforcement are currently clear, said IFTA president Jean Prewitt. “If there is a complaint, you have to act,” she said.

Crucially, under the proposed new legislation, if a platform such as YouTube is held to respond “reasonably” with “best efforts” to a rights-holder’s complaint, then it qualifies for immunity from liability. Prewitt called that “a huge giveaway.”

For months, the music industry had hoped to negotiate a remuneration model with content-sharing platforms, but those efforts have not succeeded. On Thursday, Ifpi, the recording industry association, joined another nine industry bodies in a second open letter to deplore the proposals. “We would rather have no directive at all,” the letter said.

“We are concerned that the European institutions feel they have to agree on a text at any price, and not necessarily one which makes the film-TV ecosystem flourish,” said Benoit Ginisty, Fiapf chief representative.

The European Parliament holds elections this May. A new European Commission is due to be appointed.

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