A few weeks ago, I was speaking at the Creators Conference about copyright and the worryingly large problem of piracy of digital content. It is also a physical problem, of course, just in the sheer trade and amount of counterfeit and pirated goods.
According to a recent joint study by the OECD and the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the international trade in fake products in 2013 could be worth as much as US $461 billion: up to 2.5% of world trade.
For the European Union in the same year, up to 5% of imported goods were fakes with an estimated value of €85 billion.
None of this is good news for European industry, no matter which sector.
I have said many times that the first essential step in tackling piracy is to go after the commercial-scale infringers and deprive them of their revenue flows.
The time has now come to act.
Later this month, together with my colleague Elżbieta Bieńkowska - European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs - we will present the first "follow the money" Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for signature by internet sales platforms and rights holders.
It will focus on counterfeit goods that are sold online. Once committed, those signing will be subject to robust monitoring based on a series of key indicators which will act as a follow-up mechanism as the MoU yields its results.
Provisions include take-down procedures, pro-active measures to be taken by platforms against offers of goods which are clearly pirated, and ways of exchanging information to help guard against repeat infringers.
The European Commission is committed to tackling internet piracy and this is only the first step. We will follow with four more MoUs that aim to deter commercial-scale IP infringing activities.
These subsequent MoUs will cover rights holders along with, in turn: their suppliers; online advertisers and advertising service intermediaries; payment service providers; transport service providers.
Elżbieta - @EBienkowskaEU - will launch this important first stage in tackling online piracy on June 21 and has my full support for this important initiative that will help us to create a functional Digital Single Market for Europe.
Another blog soon.