Rights Rally at EU in Strasbourg
on 8 March:
Urges Rejection of Controversial EU IP Directive
coalition of civil liberties and consumer rights groups are holding a
digital rights rally
and press conference to oppose the controversial European Union
Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive on the eve of its
final vote in EU Parliament.
The meeting is set
for 8 March, 2004 in Strasbourg, France, where a broad coalition will
urge EU Members of Parliament to reject the controversial directive due
to its excessive treatment of users and consumers for minor and
Members of the Campaign for an Open Digital
Environment (CODE) including IP
Justice, European Digital Rights
(EDRi), the Foundation for
Information Policy Research (FIPR), the Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure (FFII) and others have joined to rally against the
EU IP Enforcement Directive.
Consumers oppose this
directive because it treats them as if they were large commercial
counterfeiters – even for a single, unintentional, non-commercial
infringement. The powerful new enforcement provisions it creates to
combat infringement apply even to people who believed their activities
First introduced in
January 2003 by the EU Commission, the proposed EU IP Rights
Enforcement Directive has undergone a complete re-drafting behind
closed doors in so-called informal trilogue meetings chaired by French
MEP and Rapporteur Janelly Fourtou. Mrs. Fourtou has, together with the
Council, now placed the Directive on a fast-track approval process,
which schedules adoption by the EU Council only four days after the
publication of the amendments for the EU Parliament's Plenary. Public
consultation has been sacrificed in an attempt to pass a disputed piece
of legislation in a "First Reading" procedure, which is intended for
uncontroversial reports, when the directive should be fully debated in
a "Second Reading" procedure.
Consumers and users
from all over the EU are invited to attend the meeting in Strasbourg on
8 March to support upholding traditional civil liberties against the
over-zealous enforcement of intellectual property rights. The meeting
will be held just outside the EU Parliament Building at 16:30-18:30,
when the Members of Parliament arrive for the evening’s debate. More
details about the 8 March meeting and press conference at the EU will
be announced as they become available at http://www.ipjustice.org/CODE/rally.shtml
Top 8 Reasons to Reject the EU IP Rights Enforcement
Directive: (also see French - Français - Top 8 des motifs de rejet de la directive EU IP)
The directive’s scope is much too wide: it should be limited to
intentional commercial infringements only. Certain types of
intellectual property rights such as patents should be excluded in
their entirety from the scope of the directive.
The directive lacks balance and proportionality since average consumers
face the same treatment as major commercial counterfeiters for minor
infringements with no commercial impact.
The proposal provides no definition for "intellectual property rights",
although the directive applies to all types of intellectual property.
Since EU Member States define "intellectual property rights"
differently, it is unclear which rights actually apply.
The directive permits Hollywood attorneys to hire private police forces
to invade the homes of alleged infringers. Known as Anton Piller
orders, these measures were previously only available in
cases in the UK against large commercial infringers. But the directive
permits rightsholders to carry out these private raids against citizens
throughout the EU for minor infringements that involve no financial
motivation or benefit at all.
Mareva injunctions, which
permit rightsholders to freeze the bank
accounts and other assets of alleged infringers before a court hearing,
become EU law under this proposal.
The directive creates a new "Right of Information" that allows
rightsholders to obtain personal information on users of Peer-2-Peer
(P2P) file-sharing software. Similar broad subpoena powers created
under the controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act have been
abused by the recording industry to obtain personal information on
thousands of consumers in the US.
Internet Service Providers' (ISPs) servers and equipment can be
seized and destroyed without any notice or court hearing for the
activity of their customers.
Directives of this importance must undergo adequate debate and
consideration by the entire EU and not be rushed through on a "First
Reading." This proposal should properly be sent into a "Second Reading"
where its controversial provisions can be publicly considered.
IP Justice/CODE: Robin Gross
phone: +1 415 553 6261
FFII: James Heald
phone +44 14 83 57 51 74
mobile +44 77 89 10 75 39
FIPR: Ian Brown
mobile +44 79 70 16 45 26
EDRi: Andreas Dietl
phone +32 2 660 47 81
mobile +32 498 34 56 86
Italian Law Professor
Phone: +39 340 79 66 516
More information and
commentary available at http://www.IPJustice.org/CODE/
This page: http://www.IPJustice.org/CODE/release20040302_en.shtml