U.S. Teams Up With E.U. To Fight Piracy

BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The European Union and the United States joined forces on Tuesday in a new effort to crack down on the massive growth in international piracy and the counterfeiting of media products.

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen met with US commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez to unveil a program designed to reverse a global counterfeiting culture that has seen a boom in trafficking of fake CDs and DVDs over recent years, according to Billboard.biz.

President George W. Bush, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel will gather at an EU-US summit in Vienna on Wednesday, where the agreement will be signed.

European and American groups that included that MPAA, the IFPI, the International Music Publishers Association, the US Chamber of Commerce and the European business group UNICE welcomed today’s development in a joint statement, saying: “Efficient and effective intellectual property enforcement is crucial for both developed and developing countries.”

The statement continued, “The economies of many developing countries depend on inward investment for the manufacture of products based on intellectual property. This much-needed investment is seriously threatened by counterfeiting and piracy.”

Seizure of counterfeit items within European borders increased by more than 1,000% between 1998 and 2004, rising from 10 million in 1998 to over 103 million in 2004, according to the magazine. Commission officials claim that counterfeiting was also increasingly linked to organized crime. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers