Christian Engström was co-opted onto a legal affairs committee JURI in the European Parliament, which was looking at setting up an “IP Observatory” that should monitor and combat all kinds of intellectual property infringements, from commercial goods andcounterfeiting to kids downloading films and music.
The committee was in the process of drafting a resolution, known as the Gallo report, on the subject.
However Engström was incandescent with rage when he discovered that the Brussells Eureaucrats had already set the thing up.
The Observatory which has not got the official nod from MEPs said that its job was to improve the quality of information and statistics related to counterfeiting and piracy on the Internal Market of the EU identify and spread national best practice strategies and enforcement techniques from both the public as well as the private sector
The Observatory has already commenced work in a number of key areas. As an example, the Commission has carried out an exercise to identify structures and frameworks currently in place to combat IP infringements, within Member States.
Not surprisingly the development work is being taken care of by the content industry which not only knows of the Observatory’s existence but have been suggesting that their methodology of assessing piracy figures is the correct one.
Apparently private industry representatives from a broad range of European and national associations, regularly engaged and experienced in fighting counterfeiting and piracy, were invited to represent a wide diversity of sectors and geographical areas. These participants have also been invited to contribute to specialised working groups.
Member States designated national representatives to take part. Member States were asked to nominate representatives who have established relations with private industry and share a common know-how in fighting counterfeiting and piracy. The national representatives also have broad experience in internal and external coordination and are familiar with the design of consumer awareness-raising activities.
Engström said that with the Observatory clearly in place why did Brussels even ask the European Parliament’s views on this issue.
“We have been invited to hold an exchange of views in the JURI committee, and we are currently spending time on drafting a resolution on if and how the IP Observatory should be set up.”
However for some reason before that the parliament was invited to join the discussion, the decision had already been taken, and the IP Observatory had already been set up and started working. A fact that commission forgot to mention when the concept was being pitched to the JURI committee.
Engström’s beef is that an important agency which is designed to decide how bad the piracy problem is in the EU has been co-opted by the content industry which has rammed through its vision without any sense of democracy or nod towards facts or contrary beliefs.
The contempt that the Commission has for Parliament over this is fairly obvious.