MEPs call for swifter EC anti-piracy action
May 2, 2023
By Colin Mann
A group of European Parliament members has written to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen regarding the upcoming Recommendation on combatting online piracy of sports and other live events, set to be published imminently.
In the letter, the MEPs took note the Commission’s reflection in the Recommendation which addresses piracy of sports and other live content. MEPs ask for a short review clause for the assessment of the Recommendation, no later than one year. They also ask for consistency with President Von Der Leyen’s previous exchanges with the European Parliament, where she had committed to propose legislation should a non-legislative instrument be insufficient.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear President von der Leyen,
Please find herein a follow-up to our letter sent to you on 17 March 2023 regarding the issue of live piracy in which we asked the European Commission to “act decisively, efficiently and with the utmost priority against those who drain our creative economies”.
As previously outlined, we, together with many of our colleagues remain disappointed that the European Commission proposed a Recommendation despite unambiguous requests from the European Parliament for a legislative instrument.
The only encouragement this house received from the European Commission can be found in the response from October 2022 which recognises that this issue should be tackled with urgency allowing for a solid and transparent monitoring system. A review period associated to a clear set of Key Performance Indicators is crucial to ensure that all the players in scope of the Recommendation are incentivised to act.
We took note from the press that a current draft of the Recommendation envisages a three-year review period. Such a lengthy timeframe will only benefit malicious actors to the detriment of our European creative and sports industries. We would further insist that the Recommendation countering piracy of live content contains a clause, consistent to your response quoted above, in the sense that if the Recommendation fails to achieve the desired effects in a timely manner, the European Commission shall further explore other avenues of action, including proposing legislation.
Otherwise, our previous exchanges would be contradicted, Madam President, and the European Commission would demonstrate a lack of resolve in defending the rule of law in the European Union and delivering on the Commission’s commitment to ensure that what is illegal offline is illegal online.
We strongly encourage the European Commission’s services under your authority to ensure that the final Recommendation – to be released in early May – includes a review period that is not longer than one year from publication.
Tomasz FRANKOWSKI, EPP; Ibán GARCIA DEL BLANCO, S&D
Geoffroy DIDIER, EPP; Hannes HEIDE, S&D
Sabine VERHEYEN, EPP; Laurence FARRENG, Renew
Adrián VÁZQUEZ LÁZARA, Renew: Michaela ŠOJDROVÁ, EPP
Massimiliano SMERIGLIO, S&D: Karolin BRAUNSBERGER-REINHOLD, EPP
Peter JAHR, EPP: Javier ZARZALEJOS, EPP
Tiziana BEGHIN, NI: Andrey SLABAKOV, ECR
Dace MELBĀRDE, EPP: Carmen AVRAM, S&D
Theodoros ZAGORAKIS, EPP: Peter POLLÁK, EPP
Raffaele STANCANELLI, ECR: Anne SANDER, EPP
Nathalie COLIN-OESTERLÉ, EPP: Brice HORTEFEUX, EPP
Agnès EVREN, EPP: Maria WALSH, EPP
Separately, the Live Content Coalition, representing the organisers and distributors of live events across Europe, have written to three European Commissioners on the matter:
Dear Vice-President Schinas,
Dear Commissioner Breton,
Dear Commissioner Gabriel,
We would like to begin by thanking you and your colleagues for the exchanges held to date on the issues related
to online piracy, including the stakeholder hearing organised on 28 February 2023. We take this opportunity
following our exchanges to share with you our concerns regarding the upcoming Recommendation, in light of
the leaked text that we have seen circulating in recent days across Brussels media.
We must strongly express our disappointment and concern regarding the Commission’s intention to allow for a
three-year review period to assess the effectiveness of the Recommendation, following its entry into force. This
timeframe is clearly inadequate given the urgency of the situation facing rightsholders.
Not only would it represent another three years of allowing pirates to illegally profit from our content (estimated
to run into the tens of billions of euros worldwide), and another three years of wasted resources for our industry
as we fight to address this rampant criminality, it also unnecessarily prolongs the exposure of European
consumers to the dangers of engaging with pirated content, including risks of malware and personal data theft.
Whilst the Recommendation is a step in the right direction, its effectiveness must be assessed as quickly as
possible and certainly no later than one year after its adoption. Furthermore, its review must be based on a
strong monitoring system, solid KPIs and data, which our members have readily available to share immediately
We have consistently been assured by the Commission that “what is illegal offline is illegal online,” and we are
simply asking that the necessary steps are taken to enforce the rule of law in the case of piracy. It is evident that
the current text of the Recommendation simply does not do this soon enough despite the flagrant ongoing theft
of highly valuable, proprietary content across Europe.
We thank you for your consideration of the above and hope that it may serve to guide your ongoing work on
this critical matter. As ever, we remain committed to being a constructive partner to the European Commission
in the development of this initiative.
Members of the Live Content Coalition