The European Commission has published its first Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List, highlighting cyberlockers, stream-ripping sites, P2P services, unlicensed download stores and illegal streaming sites as areas of particular concern.
Announced earlier this year, the list is effectively the EU version of the existing US Notorious Markets list, which is published annually. It highlights potentially illegal operations around the world that threaten the commercial interests of intellectual property businesses in Europe, including the music industry. The main aim is to raise awareness among law enforcement agencies and politicians across the globe of these services and to encourage them to take action to protect the IP of European companies.
“Intellectual property infringements are a scourge on the European economy, decreasing investment and government revenues, and killing jobs in our creative and innovative industries”, says the EU Commissioner For Trade, Cecilia Malmström. “They also pose a significant risk to our citizens who often simply do not know whether what they are buying is safe or not. Furthermore, the link between counterfeiting and organised crime poses a major threat to our society. This Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List is part of our broader effort to ensure that European companies can operate on a level playing field when trading outside the EU’s borders, and that EU consumers are safe”.
Speaking for the music industry, the boss of record industry trade group IFPI, Frances Moore, says: “Music has value that must be protected, and we welcome this step by the EU on behalf of music creators. For our part, record companies are co-ordinating global enforcement action to tackle copyright infringement. However, the illegal sites named in the list employ a deliberately complex, multi-jurisdictional and often anonymous set-up of their operations, which allows the operators to hide their identity and location”.
On the new list, she adds: “The Commission’s Counterfeit And Piracy Watch List offers important and practical guidance for policymakers, law enforcement and international corporations, when identifying and dealing with websites that infringe intellectual property rights. The list helps to raise awareness of several sites exploiting music content and particularly highlights the continued existence of so-called ‘stream-ripping’ sites that make unauthorised permanent copies of streamed content, predominantly from YouTube”.
“Stream ripping”, she goes on, expanding on that theme, “is the fastest growing form of music copyright infringement globally and sites operating ripping services are a threat to the music ecosystem. They undermine legitimate music services – that license rights and pay artists and rights holders – and profit by diverting fans away from those legitimate services, while paying nothing to the creators or producers of that music”.