Leaked EC piracy consultation report: “Completely at odds with the urgency”

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Euractiv, an independent network of media companies that specializes in EU affairs, covering policy processes and summarizing the issues, obtained a copy of the European Commission’s recommendations toward a “Toolbox” to tackle illegal online transmission of live content more efficiently, in advance of the report’s May 3rd publication date.  And there are problems.

Following an October 2022 plea by a group of more than 100 media and sports industry organizations to control the piracy of live content, the European Commission issued a “Call for Evidence,” requesting input from rights holders and industry groups.  By the time the comment period closed in February 2023, the EC had received 96 submissions.

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The envisioned toolbox is intended to combat illegal streaming of live events, in particular sport events, and encourage Member States and private parties to use the tools available in EU law to tackle illegal online transmission of live content more efficiently.

Recommendations in the draft obtained by Euractive include:

  • Internet providers are encouraged to act against live event piracy while event is still underway
  • Hosting services should collaborate with rights-holders and engage trusted notification processes and technologies.
  • Intermediary services should cooperate with hosting services and rights holders to identify unauthorized sources and prevent them from reappearing through alternate means
  • Governments are encouraged to give rights holders legal standing to issue injunctions against event pirates that can be extended to infringing distributors even if those distributors were not identified in the initial injuction
  • Regulators are encouraged to inform consumers about available legal offers when they are detected attempting to access a piracy site that has been blocked

Falling short

While on the face of it, the recommendations are sound in themselves, the EU calls for a slow introduction that were said by one source to be ‘meaningless.’  According to Euractiv, the recommendations are meant only to motivate EU member states to act against piracy and are non-binding. The recommendations call upon stakeholders and national authorities to define and evaluate monitoring criteria, but allow a three year assessment period that the Live Content Coalition said was “completely at odds with the urgency of the (piracy) situation.”

Further reading

Leak: EU recommendaiton on piracy of live events disgruntles rightsholders.  Article. April 20, 2023. Euractiv.

96 recommendations to the EU’s Live Piracy consultation, clickable.  Article. February 15, 2023. Piracy Monitor (which lists and links to each submission)

Why it matters

According to the Live Content Coalition, even though current EU law calls for “expeditious” reaction from online intermediaries when notified of an infringement, the intermediaries are given no time constraints. “It is therefore necessary that specific action be taken to clarify that when creators/producers of live content notify an infringing broadcast, online intermediaries must take it down immediately. It is not up to those online intermediaries to decide whether the content should remain online or not,” says the Coalition.

Italian regulators, for example, are proposing a 30 minute response time.

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