January 6, 2010
Regarding ‘The Spanish EU Presidency‘:
As the Spanish premier meets with Europe’s wise men to discuss priorities and direction for its EU presidency, I would also urge him to push ahead with the commitments made by the Tripartite of Presidencies to take action in the area of IPR, data protection and piracy.
As a country renowned for its long and proud cultural heritage and flourishing music sector, the International Confederation of Music Publishers believes that Spain is perfectly placed to take a stand on issues that threaten creativity and cultural diversity and undermine the rights of artists and composers.
Digital downloading and file-sharing are likely to be on the agenda of the EU’s 27 telecoms ministers when they meet in Madrid in May and the Presidencies have announced their intention to develop a Counterfeiting and Piracy Observatory to strengthen IPR protection and fight against piracy.
They have also pledged to continue with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement including border controls and reviewing customs regulations against goods suspected of infringing copyright.
While Spain itself has one of the worst piracy records in Europe and has been described as a “piracy paradise”, it has recently shown a clear commitment to address the issue and is pushing ahead with legislation.
With proposals for tackling illegal downloading already on the table in the UK, and France – home to Michel Barnier the incoming commissioner charged with the issue – taking a strong line in clamping down on file-sharers, Spain must act to seize the momentum and urge other markets to take a strong stance.
The issue of the term of copyright following an artist’s death also needs to be addressed as European artists are currently placed at a disadvantage compared with the USA.
The Directive on the Term of Protection of Copyright and Related Rights failed to move ahead over the past 12 months under the Czech and Swedish Presidencies, and Spain now has the opportunity to put it back on the agenda and drive forward legislation that will give clarity to thousands of composers, lyricists and music publishers across Europe.
With Europe facing significant economic challenges, a fair approach to creative content online and copyright holders would prompt investment in the sector and promote much needed growth.
Ger HattonLetters to the EurActiv editor