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Creativity Works! urges the Article 29 Working Party to consider the impact of GDPR in the fight aga

Dear members of the Article 29 Working Party,

We represent Creativity Works!, the largest coalition representing the European cultural and creative sectors. Our diverse membership includes video games developers, broadcasters, writers, screenwriters, book publishers and retailers, cinema operators, sports organisations, picture agencies, music and film/TV producers, publishers and distributors.

We are writing to you to express our concerns regarding the impact the new provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have on the WHOIS/domain registrant directory, established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The WHOIS database helps to identify malicious domains on the internet and aids intellectual property rights enforcement cybersecurity, and law enforcement. In addition, the WHOIS database is in line with the current provisions enshrined in Article 5 of the E-Commerce Directive.

In order to prevent significant infringing or other illegal behavior on the Internet, the cultural and creative sectors are calling on the Article 29 Working Party to consider the proportional balance of interests in permitting the e-mail address of domain name registrants to remain publicly accessible in the WHOIS directory.

The current rules in Article 5.1(c) of the E-Commerce Directive already prescribe that service providers shall render easily, directly and permanently accessible “the details of the service provider, including his electronic mail address, which allow him to be contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner”.

As the e-Commerce directive already mandates that information related to email addresses of website operators have to be public, Creativity Works! believes that there is no basis to discontinue public availability of the registrant’s email address in the WHOIS directory. We, along with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts, recognize that the registrant e-mail address is a critical element in investigating online illegal and abusive activity. As well explained by the European Cybercrime Centre Advisory Group on Internet Security, a web contact form or non-unique anonymised e-mail address is not an adequate substitute (see: ).

Predominantly made up of SMEs, recent EU figures show that the core copyright-intensive industries generate 11 million jobs, and contribute approximately €914 billion to European GDP (EPO and EUIPO, “Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union,” Industry-Level Analysis Report, October 2016.) .

The prevalence of copyrighted material on illegal websites is a huge problem for the cultural and creative industries, damaging their growth and investment in the sector.

Such criminal activity causes harm to legitimate economies, contributing to reduced revenues for the affected businesses, decreased sales volumes and job losses (Europol and EUIPO, 2017 Situation Report on Counterfeiting and Piracy in the European Union, June 2017).

We thank you for considering our important concerns. Should you have any questions or comments, we remain at your disposal.


Creativity Works!

Download the full letter here.


About Creativity Works! Like-minded organisations, federations and associations from the European cultural and creative sectors have formed a coalition: Creativity Works!. Its objective is to foster an open and informed dialogue with EU policy-makers about the economic and cultural contribution made by creators and the cultural and creative sectors in the digital age. Members are brought together by a sincere belief in creativity, creative content, cultural diversity and freedom of expression.

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