Film bodies lobby for IP protection

Seeking telecoms reforms to oblige ISP action

BRUSSELS -- Two major European film lobbies have appealed to the European Parliament to ensure that their output is given legal protection on the Internet when MEPs vote Tuesday and Wednesday on telecoms reforms.

Cinema network Eurocinema and directors' group FERA said Monday that lawmakers and telecoms operators had to work together to deter massive online piracy.

Their appeal -- backed by the European Producers Club (EPC), the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) and independent producers' group CEPI -- called for rules obliging ISPs to actively warn customers that Internet piracy is illegal and that they could face legal action if caught ripping pirate material.

This would set a legal basis for any measures taken against serial downloaders, the groups said. They underlined that intellectual property rights were essential for the creative community and these were threatened by web users "who consider that illegal downloading does not harm the creative community."

The Parliament is voting on reforms that aim to open up Europe's telecoms markets to ensure operators deliver better and cheaper services such as VOD and mobile TV.