10 January 2018Copyright

European Commission meets tech companies to address online IP breaches

Five European Commissioners met with representatives of online platforms in Brussels yesterday to discuss the progress being made in the fight against illegal content published online.

Alongside breaches of IP rights (such as piracy), illegal content includes terrorist propaganda and xenophobic, racist or hate speech.

Andrus Ansip of Estonia, vice-president of the Commission, and Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos of Greece, Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová, the UK’s Julian King and Bulgaria’s Mariya Gabriel, were the five Commissioners that took part in the meeting.

The online platforms and their representatives have not been named.

In a joint statement, the Commissioners said that illegal activity online is a serious threat to security that demands a collective response.

In recent years, online platforms have significantly increased the resources being invested in the removal of such content, according to the European Commission.

“This is starting to achieve results,” said the joint statement. “However, even if tens of thousands of pieces of illegal content have been taken down, there are still hundreds of thousands more out there.”

The European Commission said it is relying on online platforms to further increase their efforts in tackling threats quickly and comprehensively. This should come in the form of closer cooperation between the online platforms and national and enforcement authorities, and increased knowledge exchange from the online community.

“We will continue to promote cooperation with social media companies to detect and remove terrorist and other illegal content online, and if necessary, propose legislation to complement the existing regulatory framework,” concluded the statement.

In September last year, the European Commission stepped up its efforts to curb illegal content published online, with the issuance of guidelines on how to tackle such content.

The guidelines, “Tackling Illegal Content Online” highlighted that a “harmonised and coherent approach” to removing illegal content does not currently exist within the EU, and that a more aligned approach to fighting illegal content would be effective.

Online platforms were encouraged to take advantage of new technology to fight against illegal content, such as automatic content recognition.

In December 2015, the European Commission launched The EU Internet Forum, designed to allow ministers, the internet industry and other stakeholders to come together and address such issues to protect EU citizens.

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29 September 2017   Illegal content published online raises serious concerns that need “forceful and effective replies”, according to the European Commission.
2 March 2018   The European Commission released a set of recommended operational measures yesterday in an effort to fight back against illegal content online.