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A hot potato: End Live Piracy Now is a new initiative against unlicensed streaming of live sports and events. More than 100 organizations want the EU to "end piracy" for good, with new laws that would shut pirate servers off even before a live show comes to an end. Which is easier said than done.
Unlicensed streaming of live sports and events is a threat to Europe's economy and culture heritage, or so this is what a new initiative is stating in the attempt to push EU authorities towards a swift and harsher action against pirates. The stakes are higher than ever, the number of organizations involved in the initiative is unprecedented and the promoters are demanding a censorship power that doesn't exist within Europe's law – yet.
The new anti-piracy campaign is called End Live Piracy Now, and it can count on more than 100 organizations which signed a call to action to protect creativity, sports and culture in Europe.
The coalition includes the usual suspects of copyright enforcement like MPA, Disney, and other anti-piracy groups, plus many European sports leagues (UEFA, Premiere League, LaLiga, Serie A etc.) and live events organizations such as Danish Ensembles, Orchestras and Opera Institutions, London Marathon, Cricket Australia, Ryder Cup and many others.
The End Live Piracy Now (ELPN) initiative is calling on the European Union to address the issue of piracy in general, and live content piracy in particular. "Piracy has and continues to drain Europe's creative and cultural ecosystems, sports and live performance sectors", the rightsholders say, while depriving workers and industries from "billions in annual revenues". Live piracy is undermining the sustainability of what is an essential part of the social and economic fabric of Europe, the End Live Piracy Now initiative states.
What should the Old Continent do to tackle this seemingly critical issue as envisioned by the ELPN supporters? The coalition wants for the European Commission – the executive power of the European Union - to design a new and effective legislative tool, a law capable of guaranteeing that notified illegal contents are taken down right away and blocked even before the live (pirated) event comes to an end.
Only a legislative tool can have a true impact against a problem of this magnitude, the coalition says, with a European-wide regulation that could provide an appropriate answer to the rampant issue of live sports and events piracy.
The same kind of piracy, the ELPN signers say, which is offering a mean to launder gains from illegal activities as well. An idea that sounds strange to say the least, as unlicensed (and thus illegal) streaming would offer very little benefits to any alleged money laundering operation.
Nevertheless, the ELPN campaign has been organized by Pearle (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) together with sport conglomerates and broadcasters, with a pledge that could be signed until October 1. Unlike many recent anti-piracy initiatives, which were directed against end users, the new campaign seems to be tailored for intermediaries that exploit ambiguities in the current law to stream unlicensed contents to consumers.