ACT deplores lack of political commitment in tackling illegal services draining Europe’s creative hubs

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BRUSSELS, 8 MAY 2023. The Association of Commercial Television and Video on Demand Services wishes to express its dismay at the Commission’s Recommendation on combatting online piracy of sports events and other live content.

While there is no question that several items within this recommendation are absolutely adequate and necessary; this is eclipsed by the unjustifiable length of the review procedure.

While we remain committed to a dialogue with the Commission we are rather puzzled as to how this aligns with the repeated calls from Members of the European Parliament, Member States and stakeholders across Europe for action on this matter.

Allowing European creative, cultural and sports industries and creators to ensure their investments are protected is the very expression of ensuring the Commission’s digital credo is followed: What is illegal offline should be illegal online.

The support for a dedicated instrument remains very high and required given the impact of piracy on Europe’s creative economy[1]. Europe can and should act expeditiously. Particularly where this is separate to the DSA implementations process which sets a horizontal set of rules but does not address the required expeditious measures to tackle piracy of live content. Further there are no barriers, whether technical or legal (particularly as pertains to fundamental rights), which hinder a speedier review.

This is unfortunate and we can only encourage the next Commission to ensure new political guidance is given to alter this timeframe.

Commenting on the result, Grégoire Polad, ACT Director General stated: “This essentially allows the present Commission to deliver little to nothing on this issue (despite a clear Parliamentary mandate to do so) before the end of this mandate; and, simultaneously makes it very improbable for the next legislature to have the required time to adopt hard legislation if the recommendation is deemed inadequate. This is a political and unilateral decision that will cost Europe’s creative economy dearly at a time when it needs it most.”

[1] VAUNET: Television piracy study 2022/2023 report on the economic loss inflicted on media diversity by the use of illegal tv services “5.9m people in Germany watched illegal live TV signals in 2022. This resulted in losses of €1.8bn, and foregone taxes and social security contributions of €390m”

AAPA: Illicit IPTV in Europe, a report for AAPA