In the framework of its efforts against online copyright piracy, the Hellenic Copyright Organization (“HCO”, Greek Acronym “OPI”) launched, on August 1st 2019, a new web portal, under the domain name “theLegalBay.gr”. The new website aims to be the place where online users can easily find web platforms available either solely in Greece or worldwide (including in Greece), which provide copyright protected content legally.
TheLegalBay is a member of the “Agorateka” initiative, a European network launched by the European Office of Intellectual Property (EUIPO), which collects in one portal (agorateka.eu) national websites of participating European countries which collect and provide links to platforms with legal digital content.
TheLegalBay’s goal in particular is to collect a list of legal content providers, in order to make it easier for users to find them, increase their popularity and, as a result, reduce the traffic of illegal platforms. To make user experience even easier in the new website, the providers are divided in categories such as “music”, “movies and series”, “sports”, “books”, “images” and “video games”.
The platform also aims to promote among the public the sense that legal options for accessing copyright protected works online are easily accessible and safe to use, and their choice by users contributes to the remuneration of creators and to cultural development in general.
According to the website’s description, theLegalBay will strive to become a dynamic portal, in which the list of included online providers will be constantly updated.
The requirements for a website to be included in the portal are mainly that it should offer all of its copyright-protected content legally, regardless of whether the access to this content is free or requires some kind of payment or subscription. If payments have to take place in order to access the content, theLegalBay requires that these payments are absolutely secure.
In addition, there should be a distinctive name for each service listed in theLegalBay, as well as information regarding the identity of the owner and contact details for each website. Websites with anonymous owners cannot be included in the portal. Finally, each website should be available to Greek Internet users.
In order for its contents to remain updated and valid theLegalBay also asks for the help of its users, of content providers and of right holders, in order to both register legal websites which have not yet been included in the portal and to delete websites which, despite being registered, do not fulfill the necessary criteria or offer content illegally.
In particular, anyone can reach the administrators of theLegalBay through its contact form, in order to either suggest the registration of a new website or to complain about a website which is wrongly included in the portal. The portal’s administrators will then examine such suggestions and complaints and proceed accordingly.
It should therefore be noted that the inclusion of a website in the portal does not necessarily mean that it is completely ensured that it provides completely legal content. TheLegalBay mentions that even though it examines the websites before including them, it is practically impossible to check if all works available by each provider have been licensed and are legally distributed.
Conversely, the fact that a website is not listed in theLegalBay does not necessarily mean that it provides copyright-protected content illegally. It might just be that it has not yet been examined and registered in the portal, in which case any user can suggest its inclusion.
To conclude, HCO’s initiative to create “theLegalBay.gr” is an interesting action in order to proactively try to battle against online copyright piracy, by promoting the use of legal alternatives, in addition to directly targeting websites with copyright infringing content through other means (it is noted that HCO’s “Committee for Online Copyright Infringement” which has been active since September 2018, has to this date ordered the blocking of access to 64 domains names corresponding to websites that were deemed to contain illicit content).
Whether online users will take note and use the new portal is unknown, it is nevertheless important to take such steps in order to encourage the legal use of copyright protected works, even if it is just by making it easier to find the content provider that a user might have not been aware of.
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