Internet: a safe and transparent place for consumers? – COFACE contribution at EUIPO meeting

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights held its annual plenary meeting on 27 and 28 September in EUIPO’s headquarters in Alicante. COFACE Families Europe was invited to take part in the meeting and was represented by Jean Bernard Audureau, Vice-President of COFACE.

The meeting provided a forum for Observatory stakeholders to agree on future activities and deliverables. One of the panels was focused on the internet and how to make it a safe and transparent world. There was also discussion in consumer and citizen education.

In his presentation, Jean Bernard Audureau has stressed that consumers and families are more than ever active players in the digital world, and need more and better information, independent and testable, to assume responsible consumption. He repeated the availability of representative associations of civil society to collaborate with all other market players in order to achieve this awareness and empowerment. Nowadays families consume online, but also produce contents and data that need protection (intellectual property and Big data).

He underlined the main recommendations of COFACE Families Europe on making the Internet more transparent to consumers which is about providing consumers with new sets of indicators to better understand and compare products and services paid for via new business models such as using data, advertising or “free to play” models.  For instance, to create indicators such as advertising to content ratio so that consumers can assess how much advertising there is on a platform/service compared to regular content, how it compares to other similar platforms/services and see whether this ratio is growing or diminishing. In this respect, there are a set of innovative tools like a chrome extension which evaluates how much money a social network has generated via advertising to know just how much your information/data is worth.

Finally, with respect to transparency, COFACE Families Europe stressed that the debate over the protection of Intellectual Property Rights should be more transparent as well, and evidence and research about the impact of piracy should be made available in order to foster an open and informed debate about these issues. He remind that some COFACE Families Europe associations are already developing awareness campaigns on the risks of counterfeit products which do not respect intellectual property (, in particular by highlighting the negative socio-economic consequences which responsible consumers also take into account now in their purchase decision.

More information about this meeting here

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