News


EC takes aim at IP theft with Piracy Watch List

The European Commission has published a ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’ to highlight websites and marketplaces that undermine the intellectual property rights of EU companies and creators.

The EC said the list aims to encourage the operators of these marketplaces, local enforcement authorities and governments to take action to crack down on IP abuse, while also making clear the risks of purchasing from such ‘problematic markets’.

The scope of the report covers both physical and digital goods and cites a number of online marketplaces that can apparently be used to access copyright-protected content, including cyberlocker sites like Rapidgator.net, Uploaded.net and Openload.

The report also called out stream-ripping websites such as H2converter.com and Downvids.net; referrer sites that aggregate, categorise, and index links to media content like Fullhdfilmizlesene.org; and peer-to-peer and BitTorrent indexing websites such as ThePirateBay.org.

The EC said that a major concern for the broadcasting industry is the illegal streaming of live sport events, which constitutes a “particular challenge” for the enforcement authorities. It also noted that broadcast companies have raised concerns about e-commerce platforms that allegedly sell illegal IPTV set-top-boxes and IPTV subscriptions.

“Intellectual property infringements are a scourge on the European economy, decreasing investment and government revenues, and killing jobs in our creative and innovative industries,” said European Commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström.

“The link between counterfeiting and organised crime poses a major threat to our society. This Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List is part of our broader effort to ensure that European companies can operate on a level playing field when trading outside the EU’s borders, and that EU consumers are safe.”

Overall, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the OECD, claim that the worldwide trade in counterfeit and pirated products amounts to around €338 billion annually. In the European Union, counterfeit and pirated products amount to an estimated 5% of all imports or as much as €85 billion a year.

To access the full report, click here.