The European Commission has admitted, after being prodded by the Federation Against Software Theft, that its own laws are failing to keep up the evolution of the Internet.
The Commission has stated that "despite an overall improvement of enforcement procedures, the sheer volume and financial value of intellectual property rights infringements is alarming."
The organisation's own 2004 Directive on Intellectual Property Rights is apparently no longer fit for purpose not least because of the "unprecedented increase in opportunities to infringe intellectual property rights offered by the Internet. The Directive was not designed with this challenge in mind."
The Commission conceded that the industry itself was partly to blame because it hadn't kept pace with the idea of digital delivery of software, saying, "File-sharing of copyright-protected content has become ubiquitous, partly because the development of legal offers of digital content has not been able to keep up with demand, especially on a cross-border basis, and has led many law-abiding citizens to commit massive infringements of copyright and related rights in the form of illegal up-loading and disseminating protected content."
But FAST, on the other hand, is keen to point the finger in any direction other than that of its own members, once again trying to place the onus for piracy prevention at the feet of ISPs.
"The Internet has evidently increased opportunities all round, but it is also a vehicle to infringe intellectual property rights on multiple levels," said FAST lawyer Julian Heathcote-Hobbins before handing over to the organisation's CEO John Lovelock who chimed in with: "It must be in the ISPs’ commercial interest to work with rights holders to develop mutual business models, thus driving customers to buy legitimate products. This would provide both industries with a win-win; and would ensure that SME software houses are not bankrupted by having their expensive bespoke software products shared among businesses without being paid for."
We still reckon blaming ISPs for piracy because illegal content is downloaded using their wires is a bit like blaming the Highways Agency for the use of illegal drugs because they are transported using their roads, but we're sure the debate will rumble on.