The European Commission today (May 3) called for a new copyright protection culture in Europe, and promised measures to help businesses deal with various bureaucratic barriers to innovation while figh

The European Commission today (May 3) called for a new copyright protection culture in Europe, and promised measures to help businesses deal with various bureaucratic barriers to innovation while fighting piracy.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Commission, the European Union's executive authority, said that the creative industries -- including audiovisual and new media services -- lacked the right support from authorities to develop as vibrantly as they could.

The United States, Japan and South Korea had surged ahead of the EU in innovation in recent years, in part thanks to strong institutional support for intellectual property rights. "There is a very close link between IPR and the competitiveness of the EU economy," the Commission said, pointing to figures showing the EU lagging behind in innovation. "More needs to be done on awareness raising and supporting enterprises," the statement added.

The Commission said it will identify the reasons for companies using or not using IPRs, and will draft policy measures in response by the end of the year.

The proposals will focus on how barriers to the use of IPR can be removed and how the relation between IPR and innovation can be strengthened. "A sound and effective IPR framework should aim to boost business by giving firms the right incentives to make new inventions, and encourage IP owners to publish their ideas and place them on the market," the Commission said.

Counterfeiting has become a priority for the Commission in recent years. From 2000 to 2005, customs seizures have increased by 1,000%. The EU has already boosted the powers of customs authorities to seize counterfeiting targets, and last week proposed criminal law provisions to combat intellectual property offences.