Committee concerned about erosion of intellectual property rights in the digital era

Expressing concern about the de facto erosion of intellectual property rights in the digital era, the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media recalled that intellectual property rights are human rights protected under Article 1 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Intellectual property is an important European cultural value and economic asset and an erosion of intellectual property rights would have a significant negative impact on all people in Europe.

In accordance with Article 10 of the Convention on Cybercrime, member States must adopt legislative and other measures to establish the infringement of intellectual property rights as criminal offences under domestic law. Special attention should be given to operators of Internet-based social networks and platforms with user-generated content, which benefit financially from illegal content posted on their sites. Intellectual property rights must also be respected when member States negotiate, accede to, and implement international legal obligations in this field.

With the adoption of a report on intellectual property rights in the digital era by Axel E. Fischer (Germany, EPP/CD), the committee emphasises that authors of creative works must have the right to use the potential of the Internet. Too often, the committee agreed, the main benefit from the dissemination of works on the Internet accrues to a few big Internet companies, while authors, performers, and other right-holders suffer dramatic losses of income.