Stakeholders’ Dialogues are a working method to bring together a representative group of stakeholders to discuss concrete problems in the field of IPR enforcement and explore possible ways of voluntary cooperation in compliance with the existing legal framework.
Such Dialogues between stakeholders seek to exploit the common interest of the participants by promoting collaborative approaches and by emphasizing joint, practical and workable solutions that focus on concrete problems in a quickly evolving technological and commercial environment, for example in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Such a joint, inclusive and participating approach fits with the Commission’s Better Regulation approach.
Stakeholders’ Dialogues aim to promote a high-standard IP culture, which is regarded as a vital cornerstone of the modern knowledge-based society. By improving mutual understanding by participants of their respective positions and by identifying areas of common interests, stakeholders are encouraged to exchange information and benchmark the possible ways of action, while, at the same time, take into account other interests, in particular those of Internet users. Voluntary agreements can also be more easily extended beyond the European Union and become a foundation for best practice in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, at a global level.
The European Commission acts as a facilitator of these Dialogues by providing administrative and logistic support and by safeguarding, where necessary, a fair balance between the different interests at stake, including the legitimate rights and expectations of EU citizens.
The foundations for the Memorandum of Understanding were laid in the 2009 Commission Communication on enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market which recognised that the fight against counterfeiting and piracy is not only of benefit to rights owners but also in the interest of other stakeholders, such as internet platforms, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Likewise, the Council Resolution on a comprehensive European anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy plan and the Council Resolution on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market recognised the seriousness of counterfeiting and piracy and its implications for the culture and creativity as well as competitiveness of the European Union, for its businesses, creative forces and consumers. Also the European Parliament, in its response to the Commission Communication, broadly endorsed this approach.
In the field of IPR enforcement, Dialogues took place on the sale of fake goods via internet platforms and on internet piracy.
This Dialogue brings together a representative group of leading right holders and internet platforms in a joint effort to reduce the sale of counterfeits via e-commerce platforms. A number of fruitful meetings were held in 2009 and 2010 with a view to reaching an overall agreement in the form of an MoU.
The MoU which has resulted from these discussions provides that the companies commit themselves to undertake certain measures while trade associations will further promote the MoU among their members. The MoU sets out a series of joint principles including effective measures to prevent offers of counterfeit goods from being listed on internet platforms. The MoU will have an assessment period of one year to review and measure progress, under the auspices of the Commission services.
The MoU strikes a fair balance between the interests of the parties concerned and should be a good first pragmatic step to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting and piracy on the internet.
The agreement on the MoU demonstrates that voluntary arrangements can, in certain circumstances, provide flexibility to adapt quickly to technological developments and deliver efficient solutions.
It is important to note that the issues related to the online sale of counterfeit good are quite different from those related to the illegal sharing of copyright protected works via the internet. Consequently, this MoU does not seek to combat online piracy.
- Commission presentation at the EU Observatory on the Infringement of IPR Working Group on Enforcement
- Summary of the Autumn Meeting
- Summary of the Spring Meeting
- Agenda of the Conference on Jointly Building Resilient EU Responses to Counterfeiting – Dublin, 22 April 2013 , jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights
- Summary of the 3rd Meeting
- Summary of the 2nd Meeting
- Summary of the 1st Meeting
The Stakeholders’ Dialogue on illegal up- and downloading, which includes representatives from the entertainment industries, internet service providers and telecommunication companies, was launched in Summer 2009.
Since then it has mainly explored a range of issues relating to illegal file sharing, including the impact on the different industries and society at large as well as the availability of easy accessible and attractive legal offers.
This Dialogue had been of an exploratory nature. It aimed to progressively build a climate of confidence, facilitate dialogue and foster mutual understanding among the different types of stakeholders involved. As such, it has been successful and is recognised by stakeholders and Commission services as a serious and very productive exercise.
Early 2011, the Dialogue has been terminated.