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AEPOC Suggests End-To-End Anti-Piracy View Of All Stakeholders In The Digital Value Chain
By Mi2N
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Partnership: Canadian Anti-Piracy Association CASST and Scandinavian STOP meet with AEPOC.

Co-operation: AEPOC proposes end-to-end view of all market players, legislators, and consumers to eradicate audio-visual piracy.

AEPOC 10 Years: Association's first decade of activity to be celebrated within 4th Anti-Piracy Symposium on January 29, 2007, in Geneva.

AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, underlines its successful multilevel approach in the fight against audio-visual piracy: At the Board of Directors meeting held on November 23 in Paris, members discussed latest developments and initiatives to combat piracy in all of AEPOC's field of activities: Legislation, partnerships, and industry co-operation.

The meeting was hosted by AEPOC member Viaccess – France Telecom, with CEO Mathias Hautefort highlighting the need for all stakeholders of the digital value chain to view piracy as a detrimental issue that can only be eradicated by an end-to-end approach: "Not only all of the industrial players concerned should work more closely together – also the legal framework will need to evolve in view of new threats arising in the fields of broadband and on-demand services. Piracy affects negatively all of the stakeholders, including the vast majority of legitimate consumers."

In this context, AEPOC welcomes the amendment of the proposed Criminal Enforcement Directive aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) regarding the inclusion of a reference to the Conditional Access (CA) Directive. The amendment lays down the need "to ensure adequate protection of IPRs in the audiovisual sector, as indicated by Directive 98/84/EC...on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access."

AEPOC Secretary General Davide Rossi commented: "We thank the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament, and Rapporteur Nicola Zingaretti MEP, for having considered bringing infringements of CA within the scope of this Directive, as a further, significant deterrent for any pirate activity in our sector."

Accordingly, this Directive will dramatically narrow down the possibilities of criminals to infringe audiovisual rights with impunity. The need to close down loopholes, caused by discrepancies between the rules applied in the various EU Member States regarding implementation of the CA Directive and other legislation, was also stressed by guest speaker David Würgler of AEPOC partner association STOP – Scandinavian TV-Organisations Against Piracy: "While Denmark, Finland and Norway foresee stricter laws and severe penalties, Sweden must still be seen as a 'safe harbour' for pirates," Würgler said.

In a joint effort by STOP and AEPOC, the associations will support an industry-driven approach aiming to illegalize hardware that is solely dedicated to illegitimately accessing pay content. The target is to prevent such devices from entering the EU in the very first place. While pirate technologies based on software cannot be halted by this initiative, collaboration with EU customs proved successful before and is accordingly regarded as one important element in the fight against piracy.

A similar approach was presented by guest speaker Luc Perrault of Canadian Coalition Against Satellite Signal Theft. CASST aims to alter the technical norm applicable to digital receivers, ensuring that pure Free-to-Air (FTA) boxes can no longer be modified to illegally decrypt signals. The motion shall result in all FTA receivers featuring an RS-232 port to be stopped at the border under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act.

Moreover, Luc Perrault gave an overview of Canada's enforcement-driven approach to combat piracy. Recently, cases of state-seized high-value properties of individuals active in piracy that are leading to personal bankruptcy were as spectacular as rulings and settlements of conditional access infringements, resulting in sums paid by criminals reaching from $500.000 to $2,2 million. This development underpins the commitment of the Canadian authorities to bring down the black market, while it also reveals the magnitude of the financials means which pirates are generating through their illegal activities.

AEPOC President Jean Grenier summarized: "With the 10th anniversary of AEPOC on the horizon, we can look upon many achievements in the fight against audio-visual piracy. Nevertheless, in the complex and continuously changing environment of today's information society, this phenomenon and any new illegal forms of it will require AEPOC and its partners to continue a multilevel anti-piracy approach – with a view to develop an end-to-end framework embracing all stakeholders of the digital value chain in order to eradicate any illegal access to pay content."

During the meeting AEPOC welcomed further guest speakers and observers, including Italian TV group Mediaset, Swedish TV provider Boxer TV, and Russian set-top-box manufacturer General Satellite. Andrey Tkachenko of General Satellite expressed the company's wish to present an application for AEPOC membership within the next assembly of the association.

The next AEPOC Board of Directors meeting will be held in the morning of January 29, 2007, at the headquarters of the European Broadcasting Union in Geneva, precisely where AEPOC was founded 10 years ago. On the occasion of the association's 10th anniversary, AEPOC will hold its 4th European Anti-Piracy Symposium on the same day in the afternoon, providing an information platform about the latest trends and viewpoints presented by industry experts and EU officials.

Moreover, AEPOC plans to collaborate with the 3rd Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, taking place on January 30 to 31, 2007, in Geneva. Convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Interpol and the World Customs Organization, AEPOC will be participating in this congress.

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