VOD Coalition statement on the EU fight against Piracy

VOD Coalition statement on the EU fight against Piracy
Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

The European VOD Coalition (the “Coalition”) represents video-on-demand (VOD) companies active across the entire EU, with a range of business models focused on investment in audiovisual content and distribution. The increasingly important role that VOD platforms play within the entertainment industry is threatened by the growing risk of piracy. We strongly believe that the EU legal regime needs further strengthening to help us protect our content.

As such, we take note of the recently announced EU Commission Recommendation on Piracy of Live Content (the “Recommendation”) and take this opportunity to contribute advice and experience ahead of its publication.

1. Fighting piracy should be an important policy priority for Europe. Piracy harms every part of the European economy and hampers the competitiveness of our sector and the economic and consumer benefits we bring.

2. Existing Notice and Action procedures should be tightened to make sure pirate content is taken down immediately after being flagged. The latter is easily identifiable and, without near-real-time takedown, the economic value of our rights can be seriously damaged. This is especially true for all time-sensitive content.

3. Trusted flagger mechanisms should be expanded beyond online platforms, with the same immediate take down requirement as above.

4. The varied interpretation and application of existing tools in some Member States, such as Poland and Germany, at national level, needs to be addressed. As an example on one key tool: dynamic injunctions under Article 8(3) of the Information Society Directive are one of the most powerful tools for rights holders across the Member States.

5. Because a pirate whose operations are disrupted by the suspension of one server will rapidly cycle to another, hosting providers should be required to introduce Know-YourBusiness-Customer obligations.

6. Criteria determining the effectiveness of the Recommendation ought to be listed in an Annex accompanying the document. Over the years, our sector has built considerable expertise in analysing piracy trends, which we hope to be able to share.

7. Setting a specific period after which the EU Commission is to decide based on facts and data on whether to introduce binding rules. This would incentivise online intermediaries to put in place efficient piracy-mitigation measures in place sooner rather than later and to work better with the content sector.

The Coalition and its members remain available to meet and discuss any of the points raised and encourage the Commission to effectively tackle all forms of piracy.