[persbericht] EP Rapporteur Wants To Crack Down On Internet Users

Wiebe van der Worp wiebe at vrijschrift.org
Wed Feb 20 10:01:36 CET 2008

PRESS RELEASE - [ Europe / Economy / Innovation ]

EP Rapporteur Wants To Crack Down On Internet Users

Brussels, Feb 19, 2008 -- Nicola Zingaretti, rapporteur on intellectual
property rights enforcement in the European Parliament, is calling on
the EU to take urgent action against "some internet users", who in his
view are engaging in "the increasingly systematic violation of
copyright". Zingaretti has asked the European Council to provide a time
frame for discussion of the draft directive on criminal measures aimed
at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights. On 25 April
2007 the European Parliament adopted his report on the proposal, the
draft directive is now awaiting discussion by the Council.

Zingaretti guided the draft through the European Parliament as
Rapporteur. Then he had stated: "It is about punishing mafia-style
criminals, not about jailing kids who download music from the Internet."

FFII analyst Ante Wessels: "We have always warned that the definitions
in this criminal law are badly drafted. And indeed, now the directive
has passed parliament, the Rapporteur admits that the law is actually
much broader than he has always claimed it is."

The draft caused controversy earlier because a European Parliament
adopted amendment was not incorporated in the consolidated text. The
corrupted text will be published soon in the Official Journal of the
European Union, according to Mr. Knudsen, Administrator of the
Verification Group - A, Verification service, Secretariat of the
European Parliament.

Ante Wessels concludes: "The Commission proposal is disproportional and
the European Parliament left key concepts and definitions unacceptably
vague. On top of that, democratic procedure is violated by leaving out
an adopted amendment."

Background Information

The claimed intent of the draft directive on criminal measures aimed at
ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED2), is to
fight piracy.

The original Commission proposal has been heavily criticized, almost all
position papers written about the proposal characterized it as
disproportional, and noted that it fails to make adequate distinctions
between commercial piracy enterprises, legitimate/lawful activities
undertaken by business competitors, or even the common activities of
ordinary Europeans.

It should not be forgotten that in almost all cases, civil enforcement
(rapid injunctions and damages) work better to protect intellectual
property rights. In many countries the IP criminal law -although
well-developed- only plays a subordinate role in actual practice.

The directive as amended by the European Parliament raises a number of
additional concerns because key concepts and definitions are left
unacceptably vague, which amplifies the criticism that IPRED2 will be
both disproportional and ineffective.


Zingaretti's written question:

Zingaretti's earlier statement:

FFII/EFF/EBLIDA/BEUC coalition report on the proposal as amended in
by the European Parliament at its first reading on Wednesday, 25 April,

Consolidated text Criminal Measures IP directive manipulated:

Permanent link to this press release

Contact information

Ante Wessels
FFII "IPRED" Work Group
+31 6 100 99 063
ante at ffii.org

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03
bhenrion at ffii.org

About the FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries,
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public
benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More
than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted
the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning
exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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