[Fsfe-ie] NY Times on 'EU Antipiracy proposal' (fwd)

Justin Mason jm at jmason.org
Mon Oct 20 20:07:51 CEST 2003


  Europe's Antipiracy Proposal Draws Criticism

  Published: October 20, 2003

  BRUSSELS, Oct. 19 - In an effort to fight product counterfeiting and
  piracy, the European Union is preparing to enact a sweeping intellectual
  property law that critics say is ill-conceived and tilted heavily in
  favor of copyright and patent holders.

  The proposal would go far beyond existing laws in Europe and the United
  States by classifying copyright violations and patent infringements,
  even some unwitting ones, as crimes punishable by prison terms.

  Lawyers who have studied a draft of the proposed law say that not only
  could a teenager who downloaded a music file be sent to jail under it;
  so too could managers of the Internet service provider that the teenager
  happened to use, whether they knew what the teenager was doing or not.

  The proposed law would also make it easier for drug manufacturers to
  forestall generic competition by effectively stretching the duration of
  their patents, the critics say, and even the makers of replacement auto
  parts could face prosecution if they sell their wares to consumers.

  Backers of the proposed law, which would replace a patchwork of
  regulations in the union's 15 member countries, include influential
  European Union officials like Frits Bolkestein, the union's commissioner
  for internal markets, whose department drafted the proposed law, and
  Janelly Fourtou, the French member of the European Parliament who is in
  charge of leading the debate on it.

[.... etc.   BTW Janelly Fourtou is the wife of the chief executive
of Vivendi Universal, owners of one of the world's largest record
companies, according to this!  she says:]

  The commission's original draft limited criminal penalties to those who
  violate copyrights "for commercial purposes" - language that would exclude
  consumers swapping music files.

  But Ms. Fourtou has struck that limitation from the amended text of the
  proposed law. "In this sense, the scope of the directive is too narrow,"
  she said. "Even if you aren't downloading music for profit, you still are
  having a very negative effect on authors and musicians. Even a young boy
  who does it innocently causes an economic countereffect.

  "The Internet is a new way of living for young people," she continued. "It
  would be very good to send out a message to them, teach them right from

  Ms. Fourtou said the change also brought the proposed law into line with
  World Trade Organization agreements on intellectual property and with "the
  wishes of a large number of professionals," referring mainly to the record


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