Report on Frankfurt Anti-Piracy Breakfast

I learned the facts behind the frustration last month at the Frankfurt Book Fair during an early-morning Anti-Piracy Breakfast, hosted by the Publishers Association (PA), the International Publishers Association (IPA), and the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

An international panel of speakers urged publishers and policymakers to embrace three simultaneous strategies for combating digital piracy: sustained and consistent enforcement, widespread education on the importance of copyright, and a concerted effort on the part of the publishing industry to provide consumers with legitimate means to access content in digital form.

Richard Mollet of the British Phonographic Industry described the way peer-to-peer file sharing networks—remember the old Napster?—make it difficult to identify individual offenders. He advocates technological solutions likes screening, filtering, and file fingerprinting to help enforcers track down offenders. He urges policymakers to put pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to cooperate in these efforts, and recommends that publishers take legal action again known intermediaries.

Tim Kuik of Brein, an anti-piracy group from the Netherlands, pointed out that 99% of the websites that host pirated material do so anonymously. He believes ISPs should be required to collect basic information about their customers so that law enforcement agencies can find and prosecute offenders.

Lui Simpson, of the AAP’s enforcement division, stressed the importance of sustained and consistent enforcement. Take-down notices are a critical first step in the enforcement chain, she said. But ISPs must play an active role, with the consistent imposition of penalties from the first offense. She recommends and escalating series of penalties, from limiting an offending host site’s internet access to suspending it completely.

The bottom line? The battle against piracy requires a variety of weapons, including education, enforcement, and electronic access to legitimate content.

Becky Clark
Marketing Director, Johns Hopkins University Press