Media and football heavyweights call on G7 to tackle internet piracy

A collective of major broadcasters and Europe’s leading football organisations have joined forces to call on the G7 group of industrial nations to take action to tackle internet piracy.

In a letter addressed to the culture ministers of the G7 nations of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, along with European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the group has called for greater support in combating piracy, both in the member nations and beyond.

The 19 signatories of the letter include US media company 21st Century Fox, UK public-service broadcaster the BBC, UK telecommunications group BT, French pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus, Italian media group Mediaset, US media company NBCUniversal, pan-European pay-television broadcaster Sky, French media company Vivendi and the Walt Disney media company, owner of US sports broadcaster ESPN.

Football leagues in the shape of the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Italian Serie A have also signed the letter, along with European governing body Uefa.

The letter comes ahead of a summit meeting of the leaders of G7 countries in Sicily, Italy at the end of May. The collective claims internet piracy of intellectual property threatens billions of dollars of investment and tens of millions of jobs across G7 countries.

The letter states: “We write now to ask for your support to ensure the continued success of the entertainment sector across the G7 countries and beyond. We are faced with an issue as impactful as trafficking of art, as harmful to our sector as any other international challenge, and which is growing more significant by the day.

“We are speaking about the systematic, wide-spread and sophisticated online infringement of our intellectual property by commercial enterprises that seek to make an illegitimate profit from our endeavour and creativity. It is better known as internet piracy and it places in jeopardy the capacity for our businesses to continue to invest, to grow and contribute to our economies and society.”

The association has called on the G7 to address the problem “in a coordinated and strategic manner”.