[Fsfe-ie] Previous meeting with MEP Brian Crowley

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Thu Mar 31 15:47:06 CEST 2005

In my last mail I mentioned my previous discussion with Crowley, but I just
remembered that I didn't post a similar summary for that meeting, so here
goes.  It was March 4th.

He thinks the directive can be fixed in the second reading.  This was his
reason for being the only JURI rep to vote against a return to a first
reading ("restart" vote of Feb 2nd).  This was in contrast to FFII's belief
that the Council's text was too flawed to be fixable.

He noted that a problem is that the EP has a very hard time with this
technical sort of directive.

He said that the USA and Asia are "4 years ahead of us on laws like this",
and that the EU is being slow implementing "the 1996 agreemnt" (presumably

He told me that patents give much stronger protection than copyrights, and
"as a musician myself, I know musicians would much rather patent their music
than copyright it".

This sparked a debate about copyright.  It somehow started with him saying
that I can't copyright the word "record", because copyright requires that
the work be new and innovative.  I asked if he was confusing copyright and
patents, but he said no, copyright is only granted if the work is new and

He backed up his copyright beliefs by citing a George Harrison copyright
case.  Crowley said that Harrison lost the case despite never having heard
the music it was claimed he copied.  Thus, copyright required newness, and
Harisson lost because his work was not new.

On later research, I read that Harrison never claimed not to have heard the
song he was accused of copying.  Crowley had clearly mixed up the facts, or
had mixed up facts fed to him.

Back to the patent directive, he said that the Council text was a compromise
since they kept half of the EP's amendments, and he said that the EP could
bin the whole thing in the end anyway if the Council's second reading and
reconciliation falls through.

IFSO had little contact with Crowley in the first reading, we assumed he
understood the issue since he tabled FFII amendments, but it seems now that
he has some misinformation to be corrected, and that maybe he doesn't share
IFSOs level of concern over this issue.

Ciarán O'Riordan,
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