BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Services developed by Apple Inc and Google for people to store photos, music and data online may do more to combat online piracy than regulation can, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Victoria Espinel, the coordinator of U.S. intellectual property enforcement, said corporate innovation was often more effective than law enforcement or other rules, which are sometimes applied inappropriately.
"The U.S. government doesn't need to pick winners and losers and the last thing we should think about doing is messing up the Internet with inappropriate regulation," she told the World Copyright Summit in Brussels.
"In order for the Internet to be as productive and compelling as possible, we need to have active engagement from companies that interact with and benefit from Internet commerce," she said.
Amazon, Google and Apple have announced music and other services that are downloadable from the 'cloud' -- a form of computing where data and software are stored on servers which users can access with smartphones or PCs via the Internet.
Such innovations give those companies an advantage in developing more secure systems.
"If it is possible to construct it so that it cannot be compromised, it may have the effect of reducing piracy by giving value to consumers -- the ability to own forever and access almost anywhere -- that cannot be obtained with illegal copies," Espinel said.
"The flexibility of the cloud may help spur the development of compelling legal alternatives."
Apple on Monday unveiled remote computing services, giving it a lead over rivals Google and Amazon, which recently moved into music storage and streaming.
Espinel said she was already working closely with major corporations to develop more security for online pharmacies, and holding meetings with Google, GoDaddy, Microsoft, MasterCard, Yahoo!, American Express, eNom, PayPal, Discover and Visa.
Espinel said she would be meeting with European Commission officials to exchange views on intellectual property rights.
Last month, the European Union executive set out proposals to overhaul the legal framework for intellectual property rights in the 27-country bloc. These will need approval from the European Parliament and EU countries.
Editing by David Cowell