For governments and rights holders alike, the war against online piracy is as serious as it is never-ending. The European Commission is no different, and this week it revealed a new set of proposals designed to protect rights holders from online piracy and counterfeit products - that being said not all of the proposals are 'new'.
One of the proposals is designed to hit the people who facilitate copyright infringement where it hurts, and try to cut off their revenue stream. The idea being that they can focus on the people behind the issue, rather than focusing on individuals who torrented a couple of episodes of Peppa Pig to keep their children quiet for an afternoon.
But rather than forcing the issue with new legislation, the EC wants to keep this purely voluntary. That way rights holders and third party services can sort out the issues themselves, like negotiating deals with advertisers and payment services to have them cut ties with known pirate sites. Apparently the EC believes this is a faster way of acting than going through the courts.
Another idea, which is brand spanking new, is the use of blockchain - because everything is about blockchain these days. The EC says it will continue to ionvestigate new anti-piracy initiatives, and blockchain technology is on the list. No other examples have been given, but the EC noted that blockchain could allow artists to be paid their royalties without needing an intermediary (couldn't this also work in the favour of pirate sites?). They also believe it can be used to track unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material.
Finally the EC also released new guidelines on how to interpret the IPR Enforcement Directive (IPRED). One such example is how to go about blocking websites and when such action is actually warranted. According to the new guidelines, it should be proportional and only for preventing serious infringements. However, in what seems like a u-turn move, the guidelines also state that third parties can't be forced to "install and operate excessively broad, unspecific and expensive filtering systems." That said, services like YouTube should have measure in place to automatically monitor content and remove any illegal material. [TorrentFreak]