EC plans web piracy law overhaul

A brouhaha over proposed US anti-piracy laws is prompting a European Commission review of the region’s own regulations covering online piracy and intellectual property.
Commissioner Michel Barnier plans to revise its Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement directive by the year-end, a move he claims is essential to keep pace with international changes, and to promote new business models throughout the European Union.
“We want to enable creators to offer their works over the internet and protect them against the theft of their works,” Barnier comments, adding. “My overall objective is to make sure that new online business models can emerge in Europe with a solid legal certainty for providers and consumers.”
The Commission plans to have proposals for new rules covering music and other works ready by the spring, and pledges tough action on companies that make money by encouraging consumers to infringe copyright.
Several big-name websites joined a shut down last week in protest of proposed new US anti-piracy laws the sites’ operators claim will restrict the free sharing of information on the web. Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC’s Digital Agenda, lent her support to the protestors via Twitter, claiming the US is proposing “bad legislation,” the Guardian reports.