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FIAD attends an event in the European Parliament on best practices to tackle online piracy in Spain

The FIAD Secretariat attended an event organised by Spanish MEP Iban García del Blanco where leading figures from across the Spanish cultural and creative industry outlined what practical steps have been taken in Spain to transform the landscape in fighting online piracy of copyrighted content.

MEP Del Blanco opened proceedings by emphasizing the need to keep the European Union institutions focused on tackling the scourge of online piracy that degrades and damages the entire cultural and creative eco-system. The Spanish politician who is a well a known advocate for the copyright industries recalled the importance of the Copyright Directive in tackling copyright infringements in the online space. As well as legislative action MEP Del Blanco reminded the audience of policy makers and representatives of the copyright industries that is it also necessary to inform and educate the audiences about the negative impact piracy has so as to dissuade them from accessing illegal content.

Representatives from across the Spanish sector proceeded to take the floor and highlight how Spain has transformed itself in 10 years from a country suffering heavily from online piracy to one of the EU Member States with one of the most effective legal mechanisms in place to safeguard intellectual property protection.

Estela Artacho García-Moreno, the President of FEDICINE, and FIAD Board Member presented the situation for film distributors in Spain and outlined the many actions taken by Fedicine in the struggle to protect films from piracy.

The President of FEDICINE recalled how the results of the Piracy and Digital Content Consumption Habits Observatory for 2021 are positive for the audiovisual industry with a steady decline in illicit activities, thanks to the coordinated work between sector agents and public institutions: "Of all the cultural industries analyzed in the study of consumption habits, the biggest drop in the volume of illegally consumed content in 2021 was in films, which experienced a 21% decrease compared to 2020. The number of consumers who accessed illicit content also fell, from 27% in 2020 to 25% in 2021."

Whilst this is a welcome development, Ms. Artacho García-Moreno stressed the need to remain vigilant and double efforts to continue the positive trend: "However, there is still some way to go as the volume of illicit accesses remains at high levels. The "movies" sector had 25% of pirated consumers in 2021 and the drop in piracy figures contrasts with the increase in profits made by criminals. One of the major threats detected is that these have managed to change the mentality of the end user, who has gone from total free to being willing to pay for illegal content."

The FIAD Board Member detailed how Fedicine's actions has contributed practically in challenging legally the criminals operating piracy operations: "Thanks to the reform of the IP law and the amendments that we presented from Fedicine and LC to the Civil Procedure Law (LEC), the possibility of using this new way to safeguard intellectual property was opened. Through the same, in 2018 we obtained the judgment that set a judicial precedent in the defense of copyright by requiring ISPs to block access by their users to infringing pages."

The session concluded with all participants agreeing on the need to keep the topic of tackling online piracy at the top of the EU's agenda and that best practices from Spain should be shared with other EU Member States looking to improve protection of intellectual property rights.


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