Members of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee have called on the European Commission (EC) to combat the "enormous growth of unauthorised file sharing" by setting up a pan-European digital licensing law.
The MEPs want the EC to strike a balance between "free access to the internet, and measures to combat this scourge effectively", claiming that the situation is affecting the EU's economic performance.
The EC should implement a single EU-wide copyright licensing law to replace the current system whereby each country has its own intellectual property laws.
MEPs also called on the EC to pursue its efforts to make progress on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to ensure that its provisions comply with existing EU rules on intellectual property and fundamental rights.
The Committee added that the EC should set up more intellectual property helpdesks in third countries (specifically in India and Russia), to help European entrepreneurs enforce intellectual property rights more actively.
Robin Fry, a partner at law firm Beachcroft LLP, maintained that an EU wide copyright law would benefit consumers and businesses by allowing people to search for licences from any EU state.
"European business simply doesn't need the bureaucracy and cost of individual licensing organisations in every state. Over the long term, we will see takeovers of these collecting societies," he said.
"Licensing bodies from 26 or more different countries all clamouring to offer the cheapest royalty rates for the same content will mean competition and lower rates and this will be a positive move."
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