Media and entertainment businesses appeals to G7 for copyright protection

Internet piracy threatens billions of dollars of investment and tens of millions of jobs. [Jorge Franganillo/Flickr]

An association of media and entertainment businesses including the BBC Worldwide, Mediaset, Canal+, Bundesliga and UEFA, has made an appeal to G7 culture ministers to take decisive action against internet piracy, which they say represents a risk to their future growth.

Culture ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries gathered in Florence on 29 March for two days of talks aimed at “putting cultural diplomacy on the agenda”.

The first meeting of its kind for the G7 grouping is the brainchild of Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. He said the meeting would focus on the protection of cultural heritage, combatting trafficking of artistic and historic items and using culture as an instrument for dialogue.

The G7 culture ministers’ meeting is part of the preparations for a summit of the leaders of G7 countries – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – in Sicily at the end of May.

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The association of media and entertainment businesses, which also include US and global giants such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and the Walt Disney Company, says it represents many of the largest media and entertainment businesses in the G7, forming a large part of the creative sector that contributes $2.25 trillion to the global economy every year.

It is estimated that around 30% of internet users around the world access illegal content regularly. The association says that the impact of such behaviour threatens billions of  dollars of investment and tens of millions of jobs across G7 countries.

“We write now to ask for your support to ensure the continued success of the entertainment sector across the G7 countries and beyond. We are faced with an issue as impactful as trafficking of art, as harmful to our sector as any other international challenge, and which is growing more significant by the day. We are speaking about  the  systematic,  wide-spread  and sophisticated  online  infringement  of  our  intellectual  property  by commercial enterprises that seek to make an illegitimate profit from our endeavour and creativity. It is better known  as internet piracy and it places in jeopardy the capacity for our businesses to continue to invest, to grow and contribute to our economies and society,” the letter reads.

The association called on the G7 to address this problem “in a coordinated and strategic manner”.

“Internet piracy is a global problem, and while we are committed to using local legal measures available to us to protect our intellectual property,  we also look to other responsible actors in the internet ecosystems, including intermediaries, to do their part to protect consumers and support legitimate commerce,”  the media and entertainment businesses wrote.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, to the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and to Commissioner for Education, Culture Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics. Strangely, it is not addressed to Andrus Ansip, the Vice-President for Digital Single Market.

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