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The European Commission Looks to Battle Couterfeiting & Piracy on a United Front
By Margee Fagelson
(more articles from this author)
2000-12-13
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The European Commission has adopted on 30 November 2000 a Communication announcing a series of practical measures intended to improve and step up the fight against counterfeiting and piracy in the Single Market.

"These are obviously positive steps but do not at this stage seem to address any of the issues regarding digital piracy." - Jeremy Silver

Jeremy Silver of Uplister.com was formerly Vice President of New Media at EMI. He is a UK transplant to the US in excess of ten years.

One of the crucial issues here is that there are two different issues at hand.

From www.dictionary.com

coun·ter·feit (kountr-ft)
1. To make a copy of, usually with the intent to defraud; forge: counterfeits money.
2. To make fraudulent copies of something valuable.
3. Made in imitation of what is genuine with the intent to defraud: a counterfeit dollar bill.

pi·ra·cy (pr-s)
The unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material.

There is not that much difference in the actions behind these, what is crucial is the cultural interpretations. For the most part, counterfeit recordings are usually thought of as the cheap CDs on the street in any major city. The ones with the enthusiastic salespeople offering the best and the brightest for $5 a pop or something like that. Why are these CDs so cheap when they're so expensive at HMV, Tower or even Amazon.com? Because - more often than not - they are counterfeit copies. With a good CD burner and a color printer, any CD can be duplicated, with packaging. Jewel cases are relatively inexpensive, as are the blank CDs. Voila.

Pirated works are colloquially thought of as the digital copies of songs/albums available on the free music sites like Napster and the late, great Scour, or through decentralized servers like Freenet and Gnutella. They are inferred to be pirated works by virtue of the fact that making them available to innumerable others means that the individual who uploaded it in the first place did so by overriding copyright laws and taking the distribution thereof into their own, perhaps undeserved hands.

The European Commission has announced that they are thinking about looking into some possible solutions, which may - potentially - fix these problems. Does that sentence sound noncommittal?

The Commission will examine the advisability of setting up, in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, complementary mechanisms for administrative cooperation particularly among the competent national authorities but also between them and the Commission. In contrast to the administrative cooperation provided for in the above-mentioned Directive, this will involve setting up mechanisms for operational cooperation among supervisory authorities and, in appropriate cases, between these authorities and the Commission for the purpose of exchanging information on cases of counterfeiting and piracy and, if necessary, conducting coordinated operations on the ground;

This Directive is the cornerstone of a far-reaching action plan aimed at strengthening the fight against intellectual property theft in Europe that costs EU creative industries 4.5 billion Euros each year.

By virtue of the European Community trying to coalesce and unify government, they are taking steps to band together over the same issues facing everyone. Perhaps these folks should attend the Future of Music Policy Conference in DC in January and add their two cents. There is no information immediately available which names the members of these groups. Perhaps when more information is provided, they can work with some organizations stateside, already concerned with these issues.

Linkography

Amazon - www.amazon.com
EMI - www.emigroup.com
European Commission - http://europa.eu.int/index-en.htm
Freenet - freenet.sourceforge.net
Gnutella - gnutella.wego.com
HMV - www.hmv.com
Napster - www.napster.com
Scour - www.scour.com
Tower - www.towerrecords.com
Uplister - www.uplister.com

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» RIAA Mid-Year Statistics Show Gains in Anti-Piracy Efforts (2000-09-29)
» RIAA Works with Phoenix and New York Officials in Anti-Piracy Raids (2000-08-21)


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