Re: EC Directive on legal protection of conditional access services

Subject: Re: EC Directive on legal protection of conditional access services
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: to 17 heinš† 1997 - 17:17:26 EEST

Dear list members,

The following public statement was made by Europe's anti piracy
association (AEPOC) on this Directive. Comments of the European
Commission towards the call of the industry for more protection are
included in this message as well.


The Association Europeene pour la Protection des Ouvres et services
Cryptes (AEPOC) welcomed the proposed Directive, but is disappointed
that it does not cover the private use and possession of illegal
Without a harmonisation of laws against the phenomenon of piracy in
Europe, the television industry and other operators of the information
society will have difficulties investing in the new services and in
digital video broadcasting, the association underlines, representing,
inter alia, Philips, France Telecom, Canal+, Eutelsat, NetHold
International, BBC and Premiere.

By proposing a Directive that aims to ban and sanction the production of
hacked decoders, smart cards and software and activities related to
their use, the Commission has limited the action to illegal commercial
activities, leaving Member States the possibility, if they wish, to
provide for stricter rules on use.

European Commission sources say that despite the call from the industry
for as much protection as possible, rules at the level of the EU would
therefore not be aimed at private "pirates".

Kind regards,
Emanuella Giavarra

Barbara Schleihagen wrote:
> EBLIDA would like to draw your attention to a new proposal for EC Directive:
> The European Commission has proposed a Directive on legal protection of
> television and radio broadcasting and information society services offered
> to the public at a distance where access is subject to payment.
> Such services include pay-TV, video-on-demand, music-on-demand, electronic
> publishing and a wide range of other on-line services.
> If adopted by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament
> (co-decision procedure) the Directive will require Member States to
> prohibit and provide appropriate sanctions against all commercial
> activities related to unauthorised access to a protected service, such as
> the sale of pirate decoders, smart cards or software. It will also
> prohibit Member States from invoking "anti-piracy" grounds to restrict the
> free movement of legitimate services and conditional access devices
> originating in another Member State. The proposal does not address the use
> of encryption for security or confidentiality reasons. It forms part of a
> package of measures related to electronic commerce foreseen in the Single
> Market Action Plan and the Commission's Electronic Commerce Communication
> (full text of the Communication, including links to a variety of relevant
> other sites:
> Scope
> The type of services covered in the proposal's scope include all forms of
> television broadcasting (by terrestrial broadcast, satellite or wire),
> broadcasting of radio programmes for reception by the public (by
> terrestrial broadcast, satellite or wire) and all forms of on-line
> Information Society services, insofar as they are provided on a conditional
> access basis.
> "Conditional access" means that access to the service at a distance is made
> conditional upon a prior authorisation, which aims at ensuring the
> remuneration of the service provider. The proposed Directive would apply
> also to the provision of conditional access as a service in its own right.
> The proposal has been put forward in the light of the results of
> consultations on the Commission's 1996 Green Paper on the Legal Protection
> of Encrypted Services and of the European Parliament Resolution of 13 May
> 1997. The proposal takes into account, for example, the fact that some
> services available in return for payment are not encrypted but subject to
> access through a password.
> Effective sanctions
> The proposal would require Member States to prohibit the manufacture,
> import, sale, advertising, possession, installation, maintenance or
> replacement of illicit devices such as pirate decoders and smart cards
> which allow unauthorised access to conditional access services. The
> proposal would also require Member States to provide for effective,
> deterrent and proportional sanctions in case of violations. Moreover,
> service providers would be entitled to bring an action for damages, for an
> injunction and, where appropriate, for the seizure of illicit devices,
> before national authorities to be designated by the Member States.
> Promoting free movement of goods and services
> By establishing an equivalent level of protection, the proposed Directive
> aims at creating a Single Market for the supply of services on a
> conditional access basis, and for conditional access devices. A Member
> State would not, for example, be able to invoke "anti-piracy" grounds to
> restrict the sale, installation or maintenance of conditional access
> devices. However, the proposed Directive would not affect Member States'
> right to restrict access to services from another Member State on grounds
> not covered by the Directive, such as the protection of minors. Nor would
> the Directive prevent the application of EU competition rules or EU rules
> concerning intellectual property rights.
> The proposed Directive does not address technical issues such as encryption
> methods or the use of encryption for reasons of security or confidentiality
> (such as payments).
> The proposal will be forwarded to the European Parliament and the EU's
> Council of Ministers for adoption under the co-decision procedure. Once
> adopted, the proposed Directive would have to be implemented within one year.
> Further information is available at:
> **************************************************************************
> Barbara Schleihagen, Director
> Heidi Grootscholten, EU Policy Officer
> P.O. Box 43300
> NL-2504 AH The Hague
> Tel: +31-70-309 06 08
> Fax: +31-70-309 07 08
> email:

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