CW! reacts to the European Commission’s Recommendation on “measures to effectively tackle illegal content online”


With today’s release of the Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online, the European Commission endorses a principled approach that will further guide Member States and intermediaries in identifying and addressing illegal content online, including infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR).

Creativity Works!, the voice of Europe’s content and creative sectors, acknowledges the European Commission’s determination to address this important issue. Takedown and stay-down obligations, via automated detection technologies where possible, are “must-have” components of a robust EU enforcement framework.

Today’s Recommendation builds on the Commission’s 28 September 2017 Communication on tackling illegal content online, as well as its November 2017 IPRED Guidelines, where it correctly identifies these solutions as a way forward and fully compliant with the existing EU legal framework, CJEU jurisprudence and platforms’ ‘duty of care’. As the European Commission correctly asserts: what is illegal offline is also illegal online.

Creativity Works! continues to underline the need for the correct implementation and full application of existing rules, including those contained in the E-Commerce Directive and IPRED, to ensure the appropriate levels of protection.

Intellectual property rights contribute significantly to Europe’s economy and employment. IPR-intensive industries play a vital role in the competitiveness of EU’s industry, economic growth and employment; IPR accounts for 42% of EU GDP, 38% of all jobs and 93% of EU exports[1].

Creation, innovation and investment go hand in hand. Yet, measures tackling illegal content online remain ineffective instruments without earnest due diligence by online platforms. A sole focus on removing criminally relevant content disregards the economic and constitutional interests of the creative industries, which includes many SMEs – all creative sector stakeholders have a legitimate interest in the enforcement of their rights. We work hard to ensure that consumer-friendly platforms deliver creative works and content in a wide-range of legal offers for consumers[2]. Europe can, and must do better to support healthy creative content and cultural sectors.

In this spirit, Creativity Works! recalls our stance: the European Commission and Member States must continue to work towards making Europe’s IPR enforcement framework fit for the digital age by promoting a legal marketplace where the creative and cultural sectors and online platforms can remain the key drivers of innovation and growth. Without this integral piece, the completion of a truly effective Digital Single Market will not be possible.

[1] European Union Intellectual Property Office and European Patent Office. “Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union.” Oct. 2016.

[2] In addition to the tools gathered on the AGORATEKA portal,  there are several other national industry-initiated discoverability tools providing consumers information on legal access, e.g.