IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy says new European Commission measures on intellectual property rights are "good news for Europe's music sector," but rights-holders still want stronger anti-piracy legislation across Europe.

The Commission today (Sept. 14) issued a Communication which it said in a statement contained "practical, non-legislative measures to combat counterfeiting and piracy." It aims to complement the existing legal framework by tightening up enforcement, which it says can be achieved through “greater collaboration between the private sector, national authorities and consumers" across the European Union.

According to Kennedy, the EC is proposing "practical and sensible steps aimed at making a concrete difference to the enforcement environment for intellectual property rights in Europe."

However, his statement continued: "Past experience has shown that such a non-legislative approach, while an excellent platform, does have its limits in delivering real change."

The communication calls upon member states to improve administrative cooperation between different enforcement authorities nationally and with other EU members. "Due to the international nature of IPR infringements," it says, "improving internal cross-frontier cooperation is not only a legislative obligation, it is a clear necessity."

In a statement, Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said intellectual property rights "offer consumers a reassurance that the products and services they buy are legitimate, reliable and above all safe."

He added: "Unfortunately, there are always those who will seek to undermine honest intentions. We need to stop this dangerous trend not by more legislation, but by mobilising stronger collaboration helping us to fight back."

IFPI, Kennedy affirmed, will "do everything to support these new measures, while at the same time working with the Commission on the next step, which in our view would consist of strengthening the legislative framework."

The EC measures involve member states setting up a network of contact points across the EU to facilitate rapid exchanges of information on suspect products, manufacturing sites, distribution routes and key sales points.

Individual states are also called upon to appoint national coordinators to synchronize intellectual property rights enforcement issues between their own respective national enforcement agencies, which will act as pivotal contact points for industry bodies.

The EC has also called for increased transparency in national structures and systems for dealing with intellectual property issues. The Communication additionally says member states should help build coalitions between stakeholders with the aim of developing voluntary agreements on dealing with the sale of counterfeit goods.

Direction on these issues will be provided by the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, which the EC set up in May with the aim of sharing data and developing best practices.

The observatory brings state and private sector representatives together to analyze the scope and scale of the problem, share information, promote best practices and strategies and propose solutions.

It held its first meeting Sept. 4, when two subgroups were created to look at issues surrounding data gathering and existing legal frameworks. No schedule has yet been published for its activities, or for EU member states to fall in line with the new EC measures.