The EU faces a high number of intellectual property rights infringements, and the volume and financial value of these infringements are not insubstantial, as reported by the Commission in its report on the application of the Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (COM(2010)0779). IPR infringements have an impact on SMEs and on business-to-business services, and can lead to the loss of markets and bankruptcy.
Stresses that, at times of financial crisis, when major cuts are being made in financial support for the cultural sector, IPR are often among individual creators’ main sources of income; stresses, therefore, that ensuring fair remuneration for creators should be a crucial element of the EU action plan.
Takes the view that in the interests of innovation, creativity and competitiveness, it is crucial that IPR protection measures are transparent and that full information is available to the public and to all other actors concerned. Believes that all actors in the supply chain in the offline context have a role to play in the fight against IPR infringement and should be involved in this process; stresses that the approach adopted must involve all actors.
Stresses that the inclusion of online actors in measures to combat IPR infringements must comply with the principles of Directive 2000/31/EC (the Electronic Commerce Directive) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Believes that applying due diligence throughout the supply chain, particularly in the interests of SMEs, would improve the business environment and contribute to preventing infringing goods from entering the market; welcomes the Commission’s initiative of exploring what EU-wide measures can improve the enforcement of IPR and thus where necessary reduce any dispute costs incurred, particularly for SMEs.
Believes that the lack, to some extent, of a competitive supply of non-infringing products and content makes it difficult to deter consumers from buying unlawful goods or using unlawful content; takes the view that further progress needs to be made in this area, and reiterates its demand that the Commission and Member States put more pressure on the industry to develop, in all Member States, licit offers that are both diversified and attractive.
Takes the view as well that one way of strengthening IPR could be to develop innovative business models; further stresses that the improvement and constant adaptation of such models to the advance of technology should be reconsidered for certain sectors of the industry.
Notes the Commission’s intention to further assess the need for the enforcement of IPR for SMEs with a view to future EU action; further stresses that this should also apply to independent creators. Insists on the need to take into account SMEs when drafting legislation for businesses, and reiterates that the ‘think small first’ principle should be taken into account. Reiterates its call for an IPR strategy, including a legal framework to combat counterfeiting and piracy adapted to the online environment.