[Fsfe-ie] Strasbourg rally 8.3.2004

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Wed Mar 3 11:28:42 CET 2004

Here's a press release from IP Justice on the Strasbourg rally on Monday. I'll be there.
Lots of rumours flying around-talk that the rapporteur is trying to use a different procedure to put the text to plenary with the effect of not allowing amendments other than the "compromise package". Let's see.

IP Justice Media Release ~ 2 March 2004

Coalition Urges Rejection of Controversial EU IP Directive

An international 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 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 non-commercial infringements.

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 were lawful.

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

Top 8 Reasons to Reject the EU IP Rights Enforcement Directive:

1. 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.

2. The directive lacks balance and proportionality since average
consumers face the same treatment as major commercial
counterfeiters for minor infringements with no commercial impact.

3. 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

4. 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
extremely rare 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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. An Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) servers and equipment can
be seized and destroyed without any hearing for the allegedly
infringing activity of their customers.

8. 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.

Media Contacts:

IP Justice/CODE Robin Gross
robin at ipjustice.org <mailto:robin at ipjustice.org> phone: +1 415 553 6261

FFII James Heald
j.heald at ffii.org.uk <mailto:j.heald at ffii.org.uk> phone +44 14 83 57 51
74 mobile +44 77 89 10 75 39

FIPR Ian Brown
ian at fipr.org <mailto:ian at fipr.org> mobile +44 79 70 16 45 26

EDRi Andreas Dietl
brussels at edri.org <mailto:brussels at edri.org> phone +32 2 660 47 81
mobile +32 498 34 56 86

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