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EU anti-piracy laws failing to keep pace with web changes

Simon Quicke

The EU has admitted that its own laws designed to combat online piracy are failing to do the job because the ease with which IP can be ripped off online has overtaken the legal defences put up back in 2004.

The European Commission is having a look at its own Directive on Intellectual Property Rights, which was ushered in almost seven years ago and although commenting on some positives having been made in the last few years it has acknowledged the world has changed quicker than the law can cope with.

"Despite an overall improvement of enforcement procedures, the sheer volume and financial value of intellectual property rights infringements is alarming," the EC report stated.

"One reason is the unprecedented increase in opportunities to infringe intellectual property rights offered by the internet. The Directive was not designed with this challenge in mind," it added.

The finger was pointed at some of the ISPs that were hosting sites which contained a large amount of illegal files.

Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, general counsel at FAST, said that the law had to keep up with technological advances and the creative industry would suffer if it was left unprotected.

"it is clear than people are not aware of the knock-on effects that online piracy can have on creators. The internet has evidently increased opportunities all round, but it is also a vehicle to infringe intellectual property rights on multiple levels," he said.


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