EC: Industry should lead anti-piracy charge

Commissioner calls for filters, sanctions

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission on Tuesday attempted to palm off responsibility for clamping down on illegal Internet downloads to studios and ISPs, with a top official saying that the industry was best placed to lead the battle against piracy.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told European executives and policymakers at a major anti-piracy conference in Brussels that "in the end, it is mainly up to the Internet service providers and the rights holders to solve the problem of illegal downloading."

He called for industry agreements on filters and sanctions, standardized reaction on repeated infringement and for voluntary exchanges of information on who is pirating, what they are pirating and who is behind illegal Web sites.

McCreevy said that new piracy trends and technologies meant that the problem would have changed before any EU regulations reached the statute books. "I am convinced that more legislation is not the solution here. As Winston Churchill once said, 'If you have 10 thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law,'" he said.

He also pulled back from new laws on the physical pirate trade, saying: "Industry has the inherent knowledge to identify the fake products and to uncover the production and distribution network used to make and sell the counterfeits."