Last Thursday, the Ministry of Culture and Sports launched a protocol to strengthen protection of intellectual property rights. The project has achieved a broad consensus in the telecommunications and cultural industries. Among the signatories are the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries, along with its partners, the Spanish Association for Digitalization (DigitalES) and its member Internet access operators (Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and MásMóvil), in addition to Euskaltel and Eurona.
According to the Ministry’s press release, the agreement aims to provide a unified response to the efforts made by operators and creators to improve the enforcement of existing legislation on the protection of intellectual property rights. The purpose is to ensure the effectiveness of judicial and administrative decisions declaring the copyright infringement status of certain digital services.
The press release also highlights the broad support this document received —it has been endorsed by operators representing 98% of the Spanish market. This marks a milestone in self-regulation and a step forward both at European and international level.
The text, with the approval of the Spanish Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC), will apply websites judicially declared as having infringed legislation. Internet access will be interrupted in certain recurrent infringement cases.
Moreover, the agreement proposes the creation of a Technical Committee in which the Ministry may intervene at the request of any of the parties. The Committee will prepare and send a weekly list of mirror websites and domain replication already contained in previous judicial decisions to request blocks on access to illegal or infringing services.
As already explained in this blog, the violation of intellectual property rights continues to be extremely attractive and lucrative for criminals— which includes the internet. According to the Piracy Observatory and Digital Contents Consumption Habits 2019 report, the economic damage caused by illegal accesses amounted to €2,437 million. That year, the public revenue loss due to piracy was €673 million (a total of €4.658 billion in the period 2012-2019). The study also estimates that a piracy-free scenario could create around 120,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Therefore, this agreement seeks to strengthen and speed up internet service operators’ response, to prevent the emergence of infringing websites and the consumption of illicit content that violates intellectual property rights.
In sum, this initiative shows a serious and determined commitment on the part of all stakeholders in the fight against piracy and in preserving the protection of intellectual property rights in a digital context.