back to article EU law not tough enough for online piracy, says Brussels

Rates of intellectual property infringement in the EU are "alarming", according to the European Commission. It says that an EU law on IP rights has had some effect, but that the legal measure was not designed to deal with online piracy. Current laws are not strong enough to combat online IP infringement effectively and powers …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Easy solution

    If the law isn't effective/tough enough, dispense with it.

    Perhaps it would be better/more effective to deal with the underlying reasons .. oh wait, that would mean that media companies would have to re-evaluate their business models and online piracy figures. Can't have doubt about industry figures, can we ...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Didn't take long...

    ...for the RIAA et. al. to grease-up someone in Brussels.

    Still don't give a f*ck.

    As we all know in the UK: "Where there's a bill there's a way"

  3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Who will protect the poor benighted buggy-whip manufacturers?

    So when will they start compelling postal service operators to search all mailed items for copied CDs, USB sticks, cassette tapes and printed paper for infringing material?

    OTOH, I think I might just be giving them ideas...

  4. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Opportunities to control

    @"Unprecedented increase in opportunities to infringe intellectual property rights offered by the Internet"

    The way these control freak bastards think, that should read ... "abuse of the Internet gives unprecedented increase in opportunities for social control"

    They are never going to stop piracy because as fast as they try to clamp down more ways will appear to spread data.

    Yet every attempt at clamping down on us increases the Authoritarianism they seek to force us to live under.

    Therefore as piracy cannot be stopped, their course of action inevitably leads towards unending Authoritarianism that is ultimately a Totalitarian police state.

    Frankly all piracy isn't so important to society that its allowed to force our society into a police state.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      The wrong piracy

      MPAA and RIAA are going crazy over Internet piracy when there's people being held hostage and killed near Somalia by real pirates.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I doubt the MPAA or RIAA's remit extends to Somali pirates, so it's unlikely that they will have anything to say about it.

  5. Wonkydonkey

    Careful choice of words

    "infringements of copyright and related rights in the form of illegal up-loading and disseminating protected content."

    I find it interesting that he specifically said uploading as opposed to downloading.

    Is that some sort of indication that people who only download pirated content are in the clear and that downloading it is not actually illegal? Does anyone know if a download only accusation has been tested through the courts yet?

    I'm not saying that makes it right or OK to do it, just asking for a purely legal perspective.

    1. BongoJoe
      Black Helicopters

      As far as I can see, said the blind man

      If you pick up a newspaper which contained an extract of a copyrighted material which they had no right to publish you wouldn't want to be prosecuted for reading, i.e. downloading, the item. The publisher, ie the uploader, is the one who gets done and not the readers.

      A similar situation happens in pubs when the landlord is showing a dodgy TV channel with the footie on it. The punters in the pub can't be done for watching, again downloading, the game but the publican is doing some form of broadcasting (broad brush strokes here).

      The same applies with downloading; that per-se isn't illegal as far as I am aware but when onetorrents and sends up even a micro-smidgen of a file then that is publishing.

      Note that I am not going into the moral argument as to whether it's right or wrong but trying to respond to your comment on the legal perspective. Assuming that I have got it right, of course.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        But if you add to that

        But if you also consider this quote from the article:

        "These companies (the ISPs) are currently not responsible for illegal use of their services that they are not aware of."

        In the example given the broadcaster and/or the owner of the pub would also be responsible for the Landlord's infringement.

        And of course, the industry currently goes after the customers in the pub.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    NO NO NO!

    ISPs and the other intermediaries should be common carriers. Yes, if you want to go a bit police-state you can record who was talking to who and when. But it should be content-neutral.

    Alternatively, ISPs would have to filter out 100% of illegal content (to avoid potential lawsuits from content owners) while preserving access to 100% of legal content (to avoid potential libel lawsuits from people who were innocent but being portrayed as criminals by being blocked).

    If people are breaking the law then prosecute them. But these prosecutions can- and are- made without needing to scan every single packet passing through a network. There's no reason that a commercial body should be able to intercept my communications with my bank or work (or even Facebook), and if it's the Police then they should have a damn good reason and a stack of paperwork to back them up.

    And to the corporates who'll be driving this: What're you going to do when people start encrypting all of their communications? You'll have made all this investment in time and money into finding infringers only for them to disappear!

    I'm not a Freetard, I just don't like unnecessary intrusion into my private business or things that undermine the freedom, innovative nature and general usefulness of the Internet.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "Yes, if you want to go a bit police-state you can record who was talking to who and when. "

      You're behind the ball in the EU. Look up the EU Data Retention Directive, supposedly drafted in reply to the Barcelona train bombings. A little gift from Tony Blair's government (drafted when the UK had the chair) to the EU forever.

      Smile because I'm agreeing with you but possibly informing you as well, not because I like the way this situation is going.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    Piracy - no it isn't

    I am completely fed up with copyright infringement being classed the same as stealing a super tanker.

    Somebody tell these people to sort out the Somalian real pirates first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You may be fed up, but...

      You may be fed up, but those nice people at the OED define Piracy as both the thing with ships and the thing with taking copyright material that doesn't belong to you.

      Many words have more than one meaning.

  8. Jacqui

    control orders for the net

    So companies who have the ability to take *civil* action against infringers cannot do so as they never seem to actually have any evidence. It seems the figures for "illegal" downloads include legal uses such as my recent grab of various linux distros via torrent etc. Also the figures are often based upon the range of UK IP addresses found on torrent servers - which have admitted they make up roughly half of these. Taken to extreme roughly one half of the supposed UK IP infringers are faked by the trackers and the "volumes" of donwloaded torrent materiel has to have the large numbers of linux distros and other legal context that is assumed to be multiple copies of some music or video files.

    Sorry, but the figures are very very highly suspect. From discussions I suspect the figures are probably between one third and one tenth of what is being put forward.

    And yes I could have downloaded linux direct but seeding a torrent is a much nicer thing to do - especially if you have the bandwidth to seed...

    It seems my download of all versions of a recent centos and gentoo release ends up at roughly 30GB - which is assumed by the packet sniffers to be 40 CD's worth of music!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prosecute and imprison

    Prosecute evey pirate and imprison them. Get these dirtbags off the streets now.

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      Prosecute and imprison

      Prosecute evey /corrupt politcian/ and imprison them. Get these dirtbags off the streets now.


      1. Circadian


        Mostly agree - but isn't "corrupt politcian" a tautology?

  10. paulc

    "Harmonisation" a misnomer surely?

    When the EU "harmonise" laws across all states, what always happens is that all the laws end up at the worst for the public... they never get slacker to harmonise with the least repressive laws.

    It's a ratchet effect... and freedom always suffers...

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      To be fair...

      ... that is only partially so. EU laws are written with the least co-operative countries in mind. They are *dramatically* overstated in order to get the minimal compliance from all countries. From a dual handicap of always playing by the rules, the UK always ends up with law that no-one else in Europe dreamed would be the result, since it takes every word of the original EU document, and then adds a bit! This is why you can still see people in some countries walking across roofs with no safety gear at all, having got up there by shinning up a 95-year-old ladder with a bad case of woodworm, whilst it is an offence to stand on a chair to reach for a book without a harness, helmet, and more padding than an American footballer in the UK, for instance.

      Then there are those in the UK parliament that simply want to blame someone else for what they really wanted to do, and ignore the wording of the EU legislation to get their own stupid ideas through. The "Metric Martyrs" case need never have happened - the EU legislation did not apply to unpackaged goods at all, and on packaged goods, it simply said that the metric equivalent must be displayed alongside any other measurement. OK, maybe it was a mistake on the part of the drafter, but in this case, I'm going for malice rather than incompetence.

      Overall, the EU makes good legislation - look a bit closer to home when the words "stupid law" come to mind.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. Kwac
    Big Brother

    @ wonkeydonkey

    Downloading is a civil offence in most european countries.

    Updloading (including using bittorrent programs) is a criminal offence.

    I.e. companies have to spend their own money to come after you if you download, tax-payers pay if you upload.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      not fact nowhere near

      Breach of copyright (uploading) is a CIVIL offence. You cannot get a criminal record for uploading copies - unless you fail to pay the fine, of course.

  13. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "Current laws are not strong enough..."

    ... to protect the profits of big companies, just like those who got the EU to introduce legislation to prevent "grey imports" from outside the EU which could be sold at cheaper prices than "official" products on the grounds of "trademark infringement"...

  14. Eduard Coli

    For the love of BB

    We all know the real purpose of this kind of talk is to erode away any remaining privacy rights and justify budgets for the police part of the police state.

    The PRC runs the largest piracy service and they do not care about Brussels or any of it's stupid rules.

  15. Pypes

    Hurry up and die please

    When can we dispense with all this artificial scarcity bullshit and just get down to enjoying the fruits of generations of humankind's collective labour. The genie is out the fucking bottle, anyone can give their friends a byte-perfect copy of their entire music library for essentially zero cost.

    The idea that an album is worth £10 because you say so, and have some strange abstract legal entitlement to exclusively sell it under laws that were intended to protect creators and not corporations is just ludicrous. Your business model is dead, get over it! Go find a real job instead of greasing a few political palms in the effort to prop it up for another couple of yeas.

    Sometimes I worry this is all just the corporate state laying the groundwork for when 3D printers become widely available, and a whole other bunch of things need to be made artificially scarce.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      How should the arts be paid for then? This is a serious question, I'm not being flippant. Before we had copyright laws music was made by people who had a rich benefactor or who were independently wealthy. Many lived in poverty, works could only be heard when the benefactors chose to have them played.

      Having worked for many years in lighting for gigs/events, I don't think that getting payment through concerts will work as they cost so much to put on. (Despite what people tell you). Also, you very much limit the types of music available is you limit payments to concerts - many forms of music just aren't doable in a live environment.

      1. Argh!

        Well thinking helps for a start

        "How should the arts be paid for then?"

        By thinking about creative ways to give people reasons to give you money for things and not neccessarily assume they will or must for something that is infinitely available. By not assuming that something that works right now for marketing will still work in a year's time and by not assuming the world owes a living. Certainly not by assuming that just because something made money before it'll make MORE money in future without any further effort.

        In the case of music I like the idea of micropayments as one possible route - a small amount per track, most of which goes direct to the artist a small amount of which goes to prop up the web-based distribution service. With practically non-existant distribution costs (and for music usually not high creation costs) and a potential world-wide audience it would take little else to make some decent money. In a shop for physical media you could simply have a streaming connection and a CD burner/printer that creates the physical packaging on the fly for a fee if you still want the thing in your hand. Then the shop gets to charge for the service to customer and the same fee goes to the artist/service providor. Of course to do that would cut out the huge barrel of pork that seems to get stuck somewhere between the vendor and the artist around about the "record label" level.....

        If you're interested there are some examples of alternatives that worked for some people here.

        "Before we had copyright laws music was made by people who had a rich benefactor or who were independently wealthy. ."

        [Citation needed]

        Mozart for example composed many of his most famous works while unemployed in Vienna as I understand it.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Well thinking helps for a start

          Mozart died poor, didn't he?

          1. Argh!

            Kinda proves the point....

            "Mozart died poor, didn't he?"

            I believe he did. Which only underlines the ridiculousness of IP maximalists' oft-touted argument that without copyright support no-one would create music. Copyright may or may not incentivise creation (the current version seeming to incentivise money-grubbing middle men more than creators) but to suggest creation is, was, or ever will be done only under the aegis of "wealthy benefactors" or other financial incentive is absurd.

            I didn't comment on the other bit about creators being poor. I've yet to see any compelling evidence as to whether copyright creates more or less poor "artists". The anecdotal evidence I've seen so far though seems to lean towards creators on average being perhaps about the same with copyright as without but it seems that fewer would seem to fall into the "moderately sucessful" category with copyright than is extrapolated would be the case without it. (Hard to prove with no collectable evidence of life in absentia of copyright of course).

            The suggestion is that *more* artists would profit overall though perhaps not to such great extent as currently is copyright were removed or significantly reduced.

            I'm not yet convinced either way on that one, but I *am* convinced that the current situation is appalling and that a "middle ground" solution exists that could be better for everyone if only governments would stop pandering to media companies that hand them large piles of cash..

        2. DR

          "something that is infinitely available."

          music is not infinitely available. once you've digitised it, it is infinitely copy-able -that does not make music (as a whole) infinitely available.

          stop paying for music, you'll see...

          when the record companies can no longer afford to go and find artists and give them record deals so that they can afford to record albums who will be providing your music then?

          when the artists have to go out and get a real job, and don't have time to get into the studio who will be creating the music then?

          >>"Certainly not by assuming that just because something made money before it'll make MORE money in future without any further effort."

          are you suggesting that if a recording company have recouped their costs then they should no longer charge people to obtain the music? older music should be fair game for piracy?

          why should the first thousand people to buy a CD be paying so that the remaining million who want the CD can download it for free?

          1. Argh!

            I'd dispute that

            "stop paying for music, you'll see..."

            See Mozart comment. And currently technology seems to allows artists to "find" themselves just fine and would probably do even better if the record companies folded because all their monopolies were taken away from them.

            "when the artists have to go out and get a real job,"

            To the best of my knowledge many artists have a "real job" already. Oh and by the way, if being an artist is not a "real job" then why pay forit at all?

            "are you suggesting that if a recording company have recouped their costs then they should no longer charge people to obtain the music? older music should be fair game for piracy?"

            No I'm suggesting that older music and other content should move into the public domain in a timely way.

            Copyright is supposed to be an agreement between society and the creator granting a *temporary* monopoly over a creation as an incentive to create further works in return for which the work will pass into the public domain for the free use of anyone to aid cultural enrichment. Having started out at about 15 years if I remember rightly (a time that today is MORE than long enough to extract a reasnable profit out of any work not deemed valueless by the public), industry bri.. er.. lobbying has managed to increase that to "life of the artist plus 70 years if I'm remembering correctly.

            Leaving aide how it "incentivises creation" to have the majority of copyrights held by corporations who do NO creation, how does a dead artist get incentivised to create exactly? And how does it incentivise a living artist to create further works if he/she can create ONE work and get paid for it for the rest of his life with no further effort?

            "why should the first thousand people to buy a CD be paying so that the remaining million who want the CD can download it for free?"

            Why should the first 500,000 people who buy a DVD pay £20 for it when in 3 months time it'll be in the bargain bin for £3? It's called a free market.


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The movie industry doesn't seem to be doing that badly ...

    Seem to remember the UK's figures weren't that shabby either for 2010

    Not saying that makes ripping right, just suggesting it's not quite what they'd have us believe.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    It's copyright enforcement *not* theft.

    It's basically an issue because Big Film and Big Music spend big money to lobby to keep it so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think you mean *infringement*


  18. Neal 5

    For once I actually agree with the EU.

    But the difficulty I see here is, how will the ISP's be able to differentiate between legal and illegal, does illegal data have a leading tag on it, or something?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    the cake is a lie

    Unfortunately, so are all the numbers associated with online infringement.

  20. Jay Clericus
    Thumb Down

    encryption is the way to go

    My ISP has a very good idea of what I download, was in their offices a year back sorting out some trial issues and to get a free router, they showed me my logs, think it was 3-4 GB per night :)

    Just need to find a VPN service that works with ubuntu and windows, already use a vpn to the office and if have to get a personal vpn, then there is no way for the ISP to know what am using

    all bit torrent programs upload whilst downloading, it is how they are designed, if you never want to upload, then BT is not for you

    Upgraded my tape collection to CD, not upgrading that to DRM laden files that allow me to use the music on 1 pc or 1 approved portable media player

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nicely Biased Article

    From a company who specialising in suing people. Just a little too biased, gunning for more laws so they get more work.

    People have always lent each other things. Be it tools, vacuum cleaners, records, tapes, CDs and DVDs. The modern way is online, but if you stop people that doesn't mean that they would buy lots of media.

    Much modern media, music, films and so on simply isn't worth buying. The budgets seem to grow higher and higher for films, so it's pretty obvious there's no lack of money?

    Cinema records are still being broken, if you believe Hollywood you would think that the cinemas are closing and film budgets are falling. I don't see lots of big name Hollywood actors queuing up to collect their dole money.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Who is going to protected the buyers

    Lots of noise about the poor copyright holders rights being protected, but what about introducing some legislation and enforcement to protected the people who have bought and paid for the rights to use the copyright material.

    For example (law already in place), arresting Sony BMG executives for putting root kits on the music CDs the sold to customers

    Or, Getting rid of the artificial market segmentation that is Regional encoding, so that when you buy a DVD when you are working in the US, it still works when you come back home.

    Or, enabling format shifting, remembering that you are liscensing the rights the intelectual property, not the lump of plastic it was shipped on.

    1. Argh!
      Thumb Up

      Yeah you have to wonder.....

      "but what about introducing some legislation and enforcement to protected the people who have bought and paid for the rights to use the copyright material."

      I'm always curious under what circumstances p*ssing off your legitimate paying customers with so many restrictions that they are all but forced to get a dodgy copy to avoid the pain seems like a good business model.

      I wrote a bit of a skit on that elsewhere:

      Cool, I'll buy the new [Insert band here] CD...

      Oh but wait, I want it on my iPod... that's OK I'll buy the CD anyway and rip it.

      Oh.. hang on I think that since 1997 or something I'm not supposed to do that am I? Perhaps I shouldn't...

      Um.. I think I'm still allowed to because it's um.. a backup copy and I'm allowed that.. I think... well at least I'm buying it....I'll give it a go

      Oh dear it seems to have broken my computer when I put the CD in.. I guess I better buy it off iTunes instead even though I wanted the cover and everything

      Hang on a minute.. my computer's a CD player too.. aren't I even allowed to play it like a CD without copying it???

      Oh well, I got it off iTunes that's ok.. except wait my car's MP3 player doesn't support the iTunes song. That's no good I want to play it in my car.

      Oh that's OK I'm "allowed" to burn a CD of it - I can use that in the car.. seems a bit of a waste of my car MP3 player though... you'd think they'd all be compatible or something what the hell is "no rights to play song" mean anyway? I bought it didn't I?

      That's all cool now.. got some more songs to go with it and burnt another disk with them all on.. this is great

      Oh... I left the CD in the sun and it doesn't work any more and it won't let me burn another copy of the original song

      It's getting worse... my computer died and the new one won't play the songs I bought.. it's asking for some password... I didn't know I had a password my mate set all that up for me.

      And now I can't even add anything to my iPod because it says it has to wipe all the old stuff off first and it's the only copy I've got

      OH S*D IT! I think I'll just ask my mate to get me a copy. He's good at that stuff.

      I think they may be trying to add to this list:

  23. Tigra 07

    General Query...

    Is it just uploading that's illegal?

    Never really hear of anyone getting arrested for having a larger music collection than their CD collection could provide.

  24. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge


    ... "partly because the development of legal offers of digital content has not been able to keep up with demand" should read "entirely because the management of the media companies have refused to update their business models to meet demand".


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