EC wants new pay TV, VOD antipiracy measures

Absence of protection deterring investment in sector

BRUSSELS -- The EU should draft new measures to protect pay TV and video-on-demand from card and password-sharing piracy, the European Commission said Monday .

It said that the 10-year-old EU rules on conditional-access systems need to be updated to keep pace with new habits and technologies.

The commission added that the absence of protection and scarce enforcement of existing laws is deterring investment in the sector as well as in new distribution services like video-on-demand and mobile TV.

With an estimated $1.6 billion spent every year in the EU on smart-cards and decoding equipment used to hack into pay TV, the EC is calling for EU-wide penalties for anyone caught with such pirate access systems.

The commission also acknowledged that the 1998 conditional access rules have failed in their aim to boost cross-border services. Though millions of people in Europe live outside their home country, it is still incredibly hard to access services from "back home."