New EU Parliamentary Forum To Push For Even More Draconian Copyright Laws And Enforcement
from the more-is-never-enough dept
Last year, Techdirt reported on the approval by the European Parliament of the Gallo Report, which calls for harsher enforcement of intellectual monopolies. Although the Report has no legal force, it’s important, since it functions as a framework for future legislation in this area. And now the eponymous French MEP Marielle Gallo is at it again, with her new “IP Forum“:
The IP Forum is a new platform that intends to trigger a dialogue among parties, experts and policymakers in the areas of copyright and industrial property.
The main objective is to bring together policymakers and stakeholders from different industries and to reflect on the upcoming legislative and non legislative proposals of the European Commission that are of paramount importance for the competitiveness of the EU economy.
In other words, this is designed as another talking shop to give industry lobbyists an opportunity to bend the ear of European politicians. Conspicuous by their absence, of course, are any representatives of those most affected by legislation — the public.
It’s also a chance for copyright maximalists to get together and repeat the same unsubstantiated claims about the “damage” caused by piracy and the need for urgent action, as Gallo’s first conference, “IPR enforcement in the digital era“, makes clear:
Thanks to the Internet, dissemination of copyrighted works has never been so easy. At the same time however, several studies have demonstrated the negative impact of piracy to the cultural and creative industries and to the economy altogether. The transfer of the European Observatory of Counterfeiting and Piracy to the OHIM will enable policymakers to dispose, in the future, of data on the effects of piracy that may not be put into question. In the meantime there is still a pressing need to act.
During this conference, we will have the opportunity to listen to Victoria Espinel, the US IP Enforcement coordinator, who will give us an outlook on the current state of play in the United States of IPR enforcement on the internet. We will also exchange our views with several associations and companies on the possible review of the IPR Enforcement directive and also on the specific changes that policymakers should bring about.
But there simply aren’t “several studies” that genuinely demonstrate the negative impact of piracy; the UK’s Hargreaves Review looked for some, and this is what it found:
The Review team has examined numerous studies, including those in the table above, and a supporting paper looks at the methodological strengths and weaknesses of this work. With the exception of the Industry Canada study, we have either not been able to examine the methodology of the studies or, where we have, we have discovered problems with the methodology. Consequently, we have not found either a figure for the prevalence and impact of piracy worldwide or for the UK in which we can place our confidence.
Translated from British English, that roughly means “they’re all garbage.”
In fact, Gallo herself touches on this key issue when she writes of future “data on the effects of piracy that may not be put into question” — tacitly acknowledging that the current data can be put into question.
She has more to say about the international angle on her Policies page:
Our industrialized trade partners … have taken all necessary measures to protect effectively their companies from counterfeiting and piracy. These measures have been welcomed by trade unions. At the same time, through its trade policy the European Union participates internationally to the creation of an appropriate legal framework in order to enable our companies and their employees to benefit fully from globalization.
This gives a hint of some of the likely aims of Gallo’s new forum: helping to push ACTA’s “legal framework” through the European Parliament and perhaps even drumming up support for a European SOPA, just as the US DMCA was transposed into the EU’s EUCD. Once again, Gallo’s new initiative shows that no matter how much the copyright maximalists get in terms of legislation and treaties, they always want more ? and will work in concert to get it.